Protesters make 'gesture' for Santa

Occupy Octagon protesters will make room for Santa and his friends on Sunday, just as they would any other group wanting to use the space.

Protester Bert Holmes said the Dunedin branch of the global anti-greed movement "moved off to the side" for White Ribbon Day last week, and would do the same for a school patrols parade today and the Santa parade.

The group was more than happy to discuss what it could do to accommodate other Octagon users and their events, he said.

"There are plans afoot and groups and organisations are wanting to use the space, so it may look like, and people may say, we are monopolising the space, but people just need to come and talk to us," he said.

Mr Holmes hoped to organise musicians to play following the lighting of the Christmas tree on Saturday night, and for face-painters and children's entertainment to add to the festive mood following the Santa Parade.

Dunedin City Council events team leader Marilyn Anderson said the Santa parade was "arguably the city's biggest event" with about 40,000 people expected to line the streets, and she "appreciated" the protesters' gesture.

The Santa Parade Trust approached the group about moving, under advice from the council, she said.

New Year's Eve was the next event planned for the entire Octagon, though the council had not approached the protesters about moving "yet".

Occupy Auckland was issued a trespass notice by the Auckland City Council earlier this week, ordering them away from Aotea Square.

However, Mr Holmes said "no formal discussion" had been held between Dunedin protesters about moving from the Octagon.

"We will wait and see what happens with the court ruling in Auckland, like everyone else."

- ellie.constantine@odt.co.nz

 

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