Police called to K2 protest

Kelly Cadogan (left), and Linda Forbes continue with their protest outside an Oamaru dairy...
Kelly Cadogan (left), and Linda Forbes continue with their protest outside an Oamaru dairy yesterday, despite allegedly being sprayed with a water blaster. Photo by Andrew Ashton.
Police in Oamaru are urging both sides of a dispute over the sale of legal highs in the town to act responsibly, after a dairy owner yesterday allegedly turned a water blaster on a group of protesters campaigning against the sale of K2.

Police were called to intervene in the stoush between protesters and owners of Meadowbank Dairy, in Thames Highway, at noon, and although Senior Constable Carl Pedersen, of Oamaru, said no charges would be brought, both protesters and the shop owners had been spoken to.

Snr Const Pedersen said the shop owners had decided to do some water-blasting work during the protest and had ''indirectly'' sprayed some of the protesters.

''Both parties have been advised how their behaviour should be in regards to protest, what their rights are, and what they can and can't do.

''Hopefully, if they are going to continue protesting, there won't be any sort of confrontation.''

Linda Forbes, who had organised regular protests outside Oamaru dairies since December, said the protesters had been unfazed by the dampening, and would hold another protest tomorrow. Earlier this week, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne announced two substances included in the synthetic cannabis K2 product would be banned from May 9, but Mrs Forbes said she had little confidence anything would change.

''All they will do is say they have removed the ingredients and carry on selling it.''

Tom and Cheryl Johnston said they protested yesterday because Mr Johnston's son was hospitalised after he was burnt when, high on synthetic cannabis, he began huffing petrol, which somehow ignited.

''He decided to have a session on K2 and then decided to huff petrol.

''He had just got a job and been offered an apprenticeship and now it looks like he may lose it, all because he decided to ... buy this stuff,'' Ms Johnston said.

Mr Johnston said his son suffered first-, second- and third-degree burns to 17% of his body and would be in Oamaru Hospital for another two weeks. He might also need to return to hospital for skin grafts.

The owners of Meadowbank Dairy, which was last year twice targeted by armed robbers demanding synthetic cannabis, declined to comment.

- andrew.ashton@odt.co.nz

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