Ejecting Octagon protesters 'not straightforward': police

Inspector Greg Sparrow.
Inspector Greg Sparrow.
Dunedin police say removing the Occupy Dunedin protesters from the Octagon "is not a straightforward matter' and any action must be both reasonable and lawful.

Police have come under pressure since yesterday afternoon when the Dunedin City Council issued a trespass notice to the group, who have been camped in the Octagon since October 15.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said last night he had "no idea" why the police had no actioned the trespass notice.

In a statement released this afternoon, Dunedin/Clutha Area Commander Insp Greg Sparrow said the power to trespass people protesting in a public space "must be exercised reasonably and balance rights and freedoms". 

"We understand the wider community's frustration and recognise the competing interests who use this space. However we live in a democracy and we need to be sure that any power to trespass people protesting in a public space is exercised reasonably and lawfully," he said

Police were working through the issues with the DCC,  he said.

The fact the protest had been in place for over two weeks "may not in itself provide a sufficient basis to justify arresting and charging those involved with offences under the Trespass Act."

"This is a public space and legally, it is not simply a straightforward matter of police visiting the site and removing people from it," Inspector Sparrow said.


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