Protest reaction complaint

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.


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