Protesters apologise for blocking elderly customers from entering ANZ bank in Dunedin video

HAMISH MCNEILLY/Stuff.co.nz

120 climate change protesters blocking entrances to three George St branches of ANZ in Dunedin.

The organisers of a protest outside a Dunedin ANZ branch have apologised to an elderly woman forced to climb over people to get inside the bank.

In a Facebook post, 350 Aotearoa wrote they were "not happy" about the woman's treatment and offered their "genuine apologies to the person affected and anyone else for having to face that situation". 

"The actions at ANZ branches have been purposeful and peaceful, and will continue," the group said.

An elderly customer uses an ATM as activists protest outside a Dunedin branch of the ANZ.
HAMISH McNEILLY

An elderly customer uses an ATM as activists protest outside a Dunedin branch of the ANZ.

"We are obviously reflecting on how to ensure that all actions remain calm and respectful."

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The apology came after elderly people wanting to use ANZ banks in central Dunedin had to be assisted by police and security guards as activists refused to move.

Protesters block the entrance a  branch of the ANZ in Dunedin.
Hamish McNeilly

Protesters block the entrance a branch of the ANZ in Dunedin.

More than 120 climate change protesters blocked entry to three ANZ bank branches in George St on Thursday.

All branches remained opened during the protest, with police and security staff inside and outside each site.

Customers wanting to use the branch had to climb over protesters, with the aid of security guards and police.

Protesters block the entrance to three branches of the ANZ in Dunedin.
Hamish McNeilly

Protesters block the entrance to three branches of the ANZ in Dunedin.

One passerby berated the protesters who refused to budge for an elderly woman wanting to use the bank.

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"Come on you . . . . let the old lady in," he said. 

"Get out of the bloody way. You are doing your cause no good."

Protesters, including Highlanders' winger Patrick Osborne, block the entrance to three branches of the ANZ in Dunedin.
Hamish McNeilly

Protesters, including Highlanders' winger Patrick Osborne, block the entrance to three branches of the ANZ in Dunedin.

Customer Jennifer Lee said she needed to use the bank, "and I had no choice but to take off my shoes and climb over them".

"I stood on one, so felt a bit bad about that.

Spokeswoman Niamh O'Flynn, of 350 Aotearoa, said the protest was targeting ANZ because the bank invested in, and supported, businesses that caused climate change through their activities.

Climate change protesters outside a branch of ANZ bank in central Dunedin.
HAMISH McNEILLY / FAIRFAX NZ

Climate change protesters outside a branch of ANZ bank in central Dunedin.

Dunedin was the latest protest, joining Wellington, Hamilton and Christchurch.

"It is a peaceful protest, but obviously the point of the blockade is to shut down operations.

"I think you would be a pretty brave customer to push past some peaceful protesters."

An ANZ spokesman said that while the protesters were entitled to have their say, they should show more respect to elderly customers and not put them at risk by making them climb over people.

"We're pretty annoyed to see protesters jostling and blocking our customers like that," the spokesman said.

"When we spoke to the protest leader a couple of weeks ago, we asked that they show courtesy to our customers – particularly the elderly who we said were regular branch users because few use the internet."  

 - Stuff

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