Home > The Body Politic > 1 October –

1 October –

Citizens Marched against the new Police Surveillance Bill

Alastair

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Central Wellington was extremely busy on the day of the protest and as I approached the group in Cuba mall I wondered whether the protest would be lost among the hive of Rugby World Cup activity, or whether we might actually realise some benefit from having such a large captive audience. Either way, the group was absolutely determined to get the message out there. The initial gathering featured addresses from the protest organiser, Valerie Morse, and Keith Locke, not to mention a comical musician who got the crowd going with his catchy rap about police brutality.

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The demographic among the protesters appeared to be left-leaning but there was a diverse mix of interests including civil libertarians, gays, Maori activists, and of course no protest would be complete without the presence of the Unite Union.

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The crowd voted overwhelmingly in favour of marching to the Wellington central police station rather than sticking to the original plan of marching to parliament, and traffic mayhem ensued as we marched along the traffic lanes of several inner city streets.

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Upon arriving at the police station the huge crowd blocked one lane of Victoria street as we sprawled out in front of the police barricade at the station while chanting “shame, shame, shame”. One member of the group faced out onto the one free lane on Victoria street using his megaphone to broadcast our message to passing traffic, while the rest of the group focused on more speeches and chanting.

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As we began moving away from the police station frontage the police momentarily obstructed us from heading towards Civic Square but eventually let down their guard and instead formed a barricade on the city-to-sea bridge to prevent us from from entering the waterfront area.

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This outraged the crowd as it was clear that obstructing our free movement into a public space could have been motivated by nothing other than a desire to avoid embarrassing the government in the presence of huge numbers of overseas visitors on the waterfront. Several members of the group began trying to physically force their way past the police officers, and whether it was the earlier speech about police brutality, my camera right in their faces, or the risk of the situation erupting into violence the police seemed reluctant to use any significant amount of force apart from man handling one particularly persistent member of the group. Outnumbered and with limited options the police eventually backed down and let us through.

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As we moved onto the waterfront we took our message to the world, with the protest organiser explaining the implications of the government’s draconian legislation to scores of foreign and local onlookers. As we eventually disbursed it was very clear to me that we had indeed enjoyed a captive audience.

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Additional information

Website:  http://stopthebillnow.blogspot.com/

Email:      StopTheBillNow@gmail.com

State-sponsored voyeurism? No thanks, Mr Key

Welcome to 1984

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  1. 2 October 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Alastair – firstly, thank you very much for sharing your information of the days’ events. The photos and text you have shared with us have provided more info than the mainstream media, thus far.

    The protest action appears to have been quite successful, and kudos to the police for being sensible and not provoking a violent response when you and the other protestors headed for the waterfront. It seems irrational that they even considered stopping you and the others. As you pointed out, it is a public thoroughfare leading on to an open, public space.

    And to the organisors and participants of the protest – well done! We’ll endeavour to attend the next one and to spread the word!

    The police surveillance bill is a travesty!

  2. Red
    5 October 2011 at 12:20 pm

    I would’ve been there if I’d known about it. But I emailed the MPs that you gave email addresses for. Good for you Alastair!!

    • fmacskasy
      5 October 2011 at 8:20 pm

      Indeed, Red!

  1. 2 October 2011 at 10:31 pm
  2. 8 November 2011 at 7:40 pm

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