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Huge turnout for anti-crime march

Published: 12:21PM Saturday July 05, 2008 Source: ONE News/Newstalk ZB

More than 10,000 people have swept through the streets of Auckland's east in a protest against violent crime.

The Asian Anti-crime Group is lobbying parliament for stronger laws and tougher sentences after a number of high profile homicide cases involving Asian victims.

One of the organisers, Pauline Low says she was stunned with the turnout, especially with the bad weather.

Police put the numbers at the march at 15,000 as they formed a column about 2.5 kilometres long, walking from Botany Town Centre along Ti Rakau Drive.

Some were carrying crosses baring the names of crime victims and others waving placards with blunt slogans.

"We don't need those buggers , don't need low life people. They robe the peace of New Zealand," says one protester.

It's recent violent crime against Asian New Zealanders that's drawn the group out; the fatal hit and run of Joanne Wang while chasing a purse snatcher, and the murder of Navtesh Singh who was gunned down in his liquor store.

The protest on Saturday was peaceful but the march organisers recently  advocated using more than words to defend themselves.

However, the same man, Peter Low was toning down the message this time. He says it is time stronger action was taken against criminals.

"We are not sleeping  anymore, we are united to fight, the law has got to change," Founder Peter says, Asian Anti-Crime Trust.

He says far too often victims are being treated like criminals, and that the law needs to be toughened, police need to work more efficiently and the court system has to be more sensible.

Peter says many Asian people don't feel safe living in New Zealand after the recent spate of high profile crimes.

He believes that if someone broke into his house, police would be more worried about how the criminal was than the victim.

In this march, the protesters' weapon is the promise of votes. They are hoping that politicians will listen to their cry come election time.