Groups co-ordinate, attempt to organise 'revolution'

Occupy Dunedin protesters camping in the Octagon are joining forces with other protests around New Zealand, as the anti-greed movement attempts to organise itself into an international "revolution".

The Dunedin protesters staged their first "People's Parliament" in the Octagon at 5.30pm yesterday, timed to coincide with other parliaments at other protest camps in Auckland, Wellington and other centres. The event attracted 11 people.

Dunedin protester Burt Holmes said the parliament concept was still in "an establishing phase", but was an attempt to make progress identifying solutions to the world's perceived ills.

They were part of a move towards closer co-ordination between protest camps in New Zealand, which began this week with conference calls involving representatives from each camp using the internet service Skype, he said.

Three conference calls had been staged so far, to update each protest camp about events in other centres, including Dunedin, and identify common issues, such as potential problems with councils, he said.

Mr Holmes and another Dunedin representative had been talking to "one or two" representatives from protests in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, Invercargill and the Bay of Plenty, he said.

"We try to have at least one person from each occupy location."

The parliaments were the next step, as an attempt to identify how issues could be tackled, he said.

"It's trying to bring awareness to the facts . . . The hope is that these connections can start taking place in people's minds."

It was not yet clear how parliaments would interact, or whether a national decision-making process would eventually emerge, he said.

The entire movement remained "fluid", with new systems being created internationally and adapted for use within New Zealand, and results would take time, he said.

"By the end of Christmas the whole global movement could have some actual direction."

Regardless of attendance, last night's parliament aimed "to show people that we can come up with results", he said.

"It's about starting and showing that we're trying to lead by example, or live by example and be what we're saying needs to be done."

His comments came nearly a month after protesters first moved on to their Octagon site on October 15, prompting trespass orders from the Dunedin City Council which have so far been ignored.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said yesterday the council's legal position was still being considered, with no decisions made, after police refused to act on the trespass notices, citing their own legal advice.

Mr Holmes said technology being used as part of the group's protest was a useful tool for getting their message out and debating the issues, but the continued occupation of the Octagon was the key symbol.




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