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Occupy protesters back in Aotea Square

Published: 9:52AM Saturday January 28, 2012 Source: ONE News

Occupy Auckland protesters have reclaimed a grassed area of Aotea Square after fences erected by the council were ripped down.

After a march from downtown Auckland, more than 100 protesters held a countdown, then sprinted to Aotea Square from Wellesley St.

A group then began pulling down fences while protesters stood around. Some protesters appeared unhappy with the action, saying it was not what the protest is about.

A statement on the Occupy Auckland Facebook page said: "A group of men unknown to us pushed the fences clean over, liberating the grass spaces at Aotea Square for the use of the public."

A handful of police were present but did not take action.

Protesters then marched up to the Auckland Central Police Station where they yelled slogans, before returning to Aotea Square.

The protesters were evicted from their make-shift campsite in Aotea Square this week.

"Direct protest action and demonstration, essential elements of modern democracy need to be protected at all costs," said Occupy Auckland member Matt Liston.

Twenty-nine protesters were arrested during the eviction process. They will appear in court over the next few weeks.

Police and protesters were in constant dialogue leading up to the eviction.

Occupiers said it understood the position of the police was that they would only act in direct response to a Court Order, and reasonable notice would be given to protesters.

However, protesters added that this has changed as of this week.

"This is truly a sad week for democracy and free speech," said Occupy protestor Malcolm France.

Police have previously stated that trespass notices against occupiers would not be enforced as it infringed their Bill of Rights.

- With Newstalk ZB

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