Press Release – Occupy Auckland
In the face of imminent eviction, a group of protestors at Auckland’s Aotea Square are remaining resolute in defiance of a court order; they say that the public right to protest and assemble in free speech under the Bill of Rights is being superseded by local government by-laws.
“While we accept the ruling of the court that we may be in contempt of the court, we are not contemptuous of the court” said one of the protesters.
The Aotea Square Occupiers are part of a global Occupy movement that has some 3000 occupations around the world. Some protesters are remaining in Aotea square as an act of civil disobedience because the Auckland City Council chose to use their legal weight including Queens Council to crush a small group of poorly resourced demonstrators; it would have been more democratic to have called upon the courts to order arbitration.
The Auckland City action was taken on the first working day after the national election, ironically by a mayor elected on a ticket of looking after the poor. The message of the protest is about the growing gap between the rich and the poor and the effect of corporate greed; no government or council seems willing or able to take on the financial system that is having a devastating effect on our societies.
The question must be asked, which side is Len Brown on, that of the majority or the wealthy 1% at the top of the food chain? And what about the right of assembly and free speech as granted in the Bill of Rights? Active debate is the sign of a healthy society and the right to peacefully protest should not be curtailed, and surely the Town hall is an appropriate place for citizens to gather and protest.
“I believe that this entire process is a direct undermining of our rights as citizens of Auckland and New Zealand to raise the concerns that are being swept under the carpet by the government and main stream media in the sole interest of profit. We need debate and change so that our society can thrive” said another protester.
The remaining demonstrators are prepared to be arrested to defend civil liberty. We call on any conscientious members of the public who support Occupy principles to show their support on the ground at Aotea Square, as individuals who are not in contravention of by-law; rather than under the Occupy Auckland name, identification with which may place them in jeopardy.