Occupy Auckland protest on the move

JESSICA TASMAN-JONES
Last updated 12:29 23/12/2011
Occupy Auckland
MICHAEL FIELD/Fairfax Media
CLEARING OUT: An Occupy protester packs up camp in Aotea Square.

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Occupy protesters are moving their tents to Victoria Park today but say they will continue to have a 24-hour presence in Aotea Square.

On Wednesday the Auckland District Court ordered the group to be out of the square by 2.30pm today.

The group has been in the process of relocating since around 9.30am today.

Occupy members have been camped in Aotea Square since October 15 when they joined a global protest against corporate greed.

But in late November, the council issued them with a trespass order which has been upheld by the court.

Occupy member Chris Glen believes the court order asking them to leave applies only to tents and physical structures.

He says the group will still be within its rights to rally outside the Town Hall daily to highlight growing economic inequality in New Zealand and around the world.

The collective decision was made this morning at one of the group's regular general assemblies.

Glen says about 150 people are still involved in the occupation.

Auckland Council said if occupiers failed to follow the court order it would seek warrants for their arrest. This would require a return to court next week.

In court, the council argued the group was breaching the provisions of a local bylaw governing the use of public places.

It expressed concern about damage to grass, trees and the Civic Car Park roof membrane.

It said it wants the protesters to return Auckland's public spaces to the people of Auckland.

The group replied that if the council was really concerned it would have done something much earlier.

Occupy Auckland believed it was exercising its rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

The council says it wants Auckland's movement to take the lead ending protests in other cities around the country.

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- Auckland Now

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