Arrests as Occupy Auckland camps shut down

Two protesters have been arrested for refusing to leave the Occupy Auckland protest site at Aotea Square.

The pair attempted to retrieve tents from the back of a van after they were seized by security staff van and were subsequently arrested by police.

They refused to stand and had to be dragged some of the way to a waiting police van.

All but a couple of tents had been removed down but a handful of protesters refused to allow their tents to be taken.

They were told by security staff contracted by Auckland Council that they would be issued further notices within 24 hours.

Council staff, backed by 20 to 30 police, descended on Aotea Square and three other Occupy Auckland site this morning, issuing notices in a bid to rid the central city public spaces of the campers once and for all.

The occupiers have been in Aotea Square for 101 days and the council has been to court to win the legal right to evict the protesters who remain.

Police gathered in a nearby carpark about 8am and observed while council workers and staff from private security company Red Badge Security took down tents, waking some occupiers who were still in bed.

Individual occupiers were also asked for their names and were issued council notices saying they were in breach of various bylaws.

Some occupiers refused to leave the site.

"You guys don't understand how bad this is going to be for you,'' occupier Paul Hickman said to council staff.

Police earlier said they were there merely to assist the council.

An Auckland Council spokesman said tents and other gear were being removed from camps at Aotea Square, Victoria Park, Albert Park and 360 Queen St.

Occupy Wall St began a global protest in New York last September and protesters had been camped out in Auckland since October.

 

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