Protest rally turns vi­o­lent

Central Leader - - NEWS -

An anti-gov­ern­ment protest turned vi­o­lent out­side SkyCity on May 22.

Auck­land Ac­tion Against Poverty pro­test­ers chanted antigov­ern­ment slo­gans and waved plac­ards ahead of Prime Min­is­ter John Key’s post-Bud­get speech at SkyCity on May 22.

‘‘Peo­ple in this coun­try are an­gry be­cause our com­mu­ni­ties are hurt­ing,’’ shouted one mega­phone-wield­ing pro­tester.

‘‘The re­al­ity of life un­der this Gov­ern­ment for peo­ple at the top is walk­ing in and sip­ping cham­pagne with John Key.’’

At least a dozen po­lice of­fi­cers, backed up by SkyCity se­cu­rity guards, had to block the en­trances to the venue to stop pro­test­ers from forc­ing their way in.

The al­ter­ca­tion be­came vi­o­lent more than once.

A Ra­dioLive video cap­tured an of­fi­cer throw­ing a woman to the ground.

In­spec­tor Peter Gibson says he is aware of a video and so­cial me­dia com­men­tary on the ac­tions of po­lice.

‘‘Video which shows the full con­text of what po­lice were fac­ing paints a some­what dif­fer­ent pic­ture from the se­lec­tive ex­tracts which some are choos­ing to show,’’ Gibson says.

Po­lice say one per­son was ar­rested and footage of the protest is be­ing re­viewed.

Law en­force­ment staff suf­fered mi­nor in­juries, in­clud­ing scratches to the face and arms.

‘‘This was a very chal­leng­ing event to po­lice.

‘‘I am dis­ap­pointed with the be­hav­iour of th­ese pro­test­ers,’’ In­spec­tor Peter Gibson says.

‘‘Auck­land City Po­lice is well versed in polic­ing such events.

‘‘How­ever, the be­hav­iour of this crowd went well be­yond what is ac­cept­able.’’

Photo: RICHARD MEAD­OWS

Pro­test­ers out­side a post­Bud­get speech by John Key at SkyCity.

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