Police investigate Octagon damage complaint

Police are investigating a complaint from the Dunedin City Council relating to the wilful damage of grass under repair in the Octagon.

The offenders, the council alleges, are Occupy Dunedin members who put up a tent on the grass on Tuesday in a show of solidarity for a fellow protester who was arrested and charged with wilful damage last year, and for Occupy Auckland members evicted from protest sites across Auckland on Monday after the Auckland Council acted on a new bylaw preventing overnight camping.

Dunedin police confirmed they received the complaint from the council about 10am yesterday.

The tent was yesterday moved to the rotunda in the middle of the Octagon, outside the roped off area.

Occupy member Kieran Trass said occupiers moved the tent for their own reasons, not because of the threat of police getting involved.

He said the group had used the grass as a way to highlight the absurdity of society that the big argument was over grass, when the entire New Zealand environment was getting "caned" by things such as seismic testing and 1080 poisoning.

"Or you could focus on the concern of a bit of grass."

Inspector Greg Sparrow said, as with any complaint, police would investigate to determine whether any crime had been committed, how serious it was and whether it was in the public interest to prosecute.

Asked if Auckland police's handling of Occupy Auckland this week would affect how Dunedin police would handle the Dunedin council's complaint, he said he preferred not to comment on situations outside his police district.

• The Auckland Council yesterday announced it would seek a new court order to remove the remaining few Occupy Auckland protesters camping in Aotea Sq.

The council went to court last month to win the legal right to evict the remaining protesters and remove their structures.

On Monday, most of their tents were taken down, but four tents and the communal cooking tent were still standing.

The new order sought was for removal of tents and other structures, and for the arrest and committal of the remaining protesters.


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