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Dispute within Occupy Auckland ranks over next move

Published: 5:17AM Friday December 23, 2011 Source: ONE News

Division has emerged amongst the ranks of Occupy Auckland as protesters disagree about whether they should leave Aotea Square.

While some protesters began packing up today, others were staying put.

An earlier announcement by a group member, Chris Glen, indicated the protesters had held a general assembly and decided to move their campsite to Victoria Park.

But Occupy Auckland later posted on its Facebook page that Glen did not have the movement's full support and "speaks only for himself".

The Facebook update at about 1pm said the group is a "leaderless movement, as per the status of all occupations worldwide, and that Chris Glen does not singularly speak for Occupy Auckland - he speaks only for himself."

"Mr Glen suggested and pushed through his own suggestion, that Occupy Auckland relocate to Victoria Park," said the update.

"A suggestion which had already proved to be unpopular and highly contentious, since it was first suggested by him and which has not been publicly endorsed by the other parties involved in the legal process"

A court order gave the protesters until 2.30pm today to leave Aotea Square but as the deadline came and went, there was no sign of police or security guards.

Those remaining were asked to return to court next Thursday when the council will ask the judge to issue warrants for the protesters' arrest.

The group said on Facebook it would hold a general assembly at 6pm today before confirming its official position.

As of late this afternoon no-one had yet to set up camp at Victoria Park.

She spoke to a council lawyer who said if protesters do move there, a new court decision should not be necessary to move them.

The lawyer said the judge's decision regarding Aotea Square should apply to all council spaces.

Meanwhile, a handful of protesters have resumed their occupation of Dunedin's Octagon in solidarity with anti-globalisation demonstrators in Auckland's Aotea Square.

The protesters have pitched a tent and scrawled the slogans "Solidarity with Auckland" and "Kia Kaha" on the base of the Robbie Burns statue.

Protest leader Kieran Trass refused to comment on how long the latest occupation would last.

Protesters had previously camped in central Dunedin from October 15 until Tuesday of this week.

70 days of occupation

The Occupy movement has been living in Aotea Square since October 15, when members began a protest as part of a global movement demonstrating against corporate greed.

The protesters went to Auckland District Court yesterday to try and have an injunction imposed by Judge David Wilson, requiring them to leave the site, put aside until their appeal of the decision is heard.

Had the judge ruled in the protesters' favour it would have meant they could remain in the square until at least February, when the High Court would be in a position to hear the appeal.

About 40 Occupy supporters protested outside the court yesterday while the hearing was held.