A Dunedin woman has laid a complaint with the Independent
Police Conduct Authority after, she says, police forcibly
removed protesters from a footpath during Prime Minister John
Key's visit to Dunedin this week.
Mana Party Otepoti secretary Olive McRae said she was
forcibly removed by police officers from the footpath near
Speight's Brewery in Rattray St on Tuesday.
''I was told that if I went back in to the area I would be
arrested and that police had a permit from the [Dunedin City]
council to close the road and the footpath.''
The officers, when asked, declined to show her the permit.
Although she doubted the officers' claims, she cancelled the
protest for the safety of the ''substantial number'' of
fellow protesters set to demonstrate against the Government.
The right to protest was important for a fair and democratic
society, she said.
A police spokeswoman described ''minor jostling'' between
police and protesters when Mr Key's path to a venue was
obstructed, and said
Ms McRae's complaint would be looked into.
Council transportation policy engineer Jon Visser said the
council had approved Speight's Brewery's traffic management
plan, which specified footpaths had to be kept open.