Lessons from Greece

Written By: - Date published: 4:21 pm, June 1st, 2012 - 229 comments
Categories: activism, police - Tags:

Last week Bill English suggested that student protesters needed lessons from the Greeks in how to riot. I expected them to take the bait and up their game but it seems the police are taking lessons from the Greek Riot Police instead. In the last hour or so students marching up Symonds Street were stopped by police. In response the protesters all sat down. Last word is that police have arrested around 50 people and look like they will arrest the 20 or so protesters left on the road too.

In last week’s student protests that Bill English referred to, protesters blocked the road for 5 hours and in that time there were only 2 police officers in attendance. This week there are around 80 police so it’s pretty clear that their goal from the start was mass arrests.

John Darroch is taking photos and video at the protest and says:

Every arrest so far has been violent and brutal. Police have been twisting peoples arms and dragging people along the road. Those arrested can be heard screaming in pain.

I was threatened with arrest for kneeling in a drain at the side of the road to take photos and video of some of the arrests. When I asked what the charge would be I was told I was obstructing police. They came in to arrest me so I backed off.

I have my 18 month old in a carrier on my back so I’m not keen to get into any sort of conflict with the police today. I’ve had cops questioning why I’ve brought my baby to the protest but I’m just taking photos and staying out of the action. It’s pretty clear that the only threat to my son is from the police.

Police look to be bringing in more paddy wagons to cart protesters back to the police station. I believe they plan to keep arresting everyone until there are no protesters left.

I’ll update if there’s any more news.

Update 4.31pm: A few more arrests, now all students are off the road.
Update 4.36pm: At least one man (a union photographer) was arrested just for taking photographs.
Update 4.43pm: Around 500 protesters are now marching down Symonds Street on the sidewalk.
Update 4.47pm: Protesters have been kettled in by police across from the Business School but are apparently pushing back.
Update 4.49pm: More police are arriving.
Update 5.11pm: Protesters now marching again towards Albert Park. Around 200 protesters and 40 cops left.
Update: 5.47pm: John Darroch has left the protest (baby was scared of the cops). Twitter has the best updates here. The protesters have been marching around the city including cutting through a mall to lose police vehicles. Last report is that 100 cops have turned up on Queen
Update 6.45pm: One of the lawyers acting for those arrested has just been told by police that everyone arrested will be released without charge in the next couple of hours. That excludes 4 people who have refused to cooperate, presumably by refusing to give the police their details.

Update 9.09pm: John Darroch’s photos from today’s protest:

TVNZ’s raw footage is here. It shows police arresting a women just for sitting down, and grabbing her around the neck and dragging her despite no active resistance.

229 comments on “Lessons from Greece”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    “Police have been twisting peoples arms and dragging people along the road. Those arrested can be heard screaming in pain.”

    I guess if protesters are going to make it as difficult as possible to be arrested then they also have to put up with a bit of pain when police do the inevitable. Looks to me like a case of “if you can’t stand the heat, don’t get into the fire.”

    • rocky 1.1

      The point is that everyone was getting the same treatment from police, whether they resisted or not.

    • Pascal's bookie 1.2

      How many can you see in this one photo:

      I stoppped at 15.

      And I’d never sus[pect that you’d be concerned about police overstepping the mark, but what would you say if reports that some police there have removed their id numbers are true?

      • Pascal's bookie 1.2.1

        This went in the wrong place sorry, t.

        • tsmithfield 1.2.1.1

          I don’t mind people exercising their right to protest. I just think people need to accept what goes along with that.

          There are usually two sides to the equation, and I suspect the actions of the protesters incited the response from the police to one degree or another. If people go into a protest with their eyes open, then they shouldn’t whine if they end up getting man-handled if they refuse to cooperate with the police.

          • Pascal's bookie 1.2.1.1.1

            Yeah, as I thought.

            “exercising their right to protest” justifies “police taking badges off and administering a bit of biffo”.

            🙄

            • Fermionic Interference 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Take a look at the photos on stuff.co.nz there are a number of officers whom can be seen to be sans ID numbers.

          • mike e 1.2.1.1.2

            The stupid monetarist.You should apply for Syrian citizenship

          • bbfloyd 1.2.1.1.3

            that has to qualify as the most fascist, authoritarian load of spew i’ve heard in days…..

            you have to be one of the ugliest of the tory trolls on here TS….you make a virtue of blunt suppression….. you must be gutted you couldn’t have lived in germany in the late thirties…. have you got your own brownshirt uniform stashed in your wardrobe? so you can dress up in it when you are alone?

            you, and those like you, that would have us existing in some national socialist dream world are a blight on humanity…. this kind of poisonous, ugly, narrow hatred is what has to be weeded out completely before we actually have a chance to progress as we should…

            i hope you’ve got your fortress set up, because when the shooting starts, it’s arseholes like you who will be targeted first…..and the shooting will start as long as your kind of ignorance and bigotry persists in being the basis for decisions affecting future society….as it is in wellington now…

          • Puddleglum 1.2.1.1.4

            So the right to protest goes ‘along with’ painful manhandling by state forces?

            An interesting take on the full meaning of the freedom to protest.

            Presumably the right to freedom of speech comes ‘along with’ the same painful consequences?  Anyone speaking out and exercising freedom of speech just needs to face up to what ‘goes along with that’?

          • Short version: That’s silly, you’re advocating lazy policing.

            Long version:
            1) Police have a duty to the public to use the lowest level of force they can manage in order to detain you, as you may be innocent or not even charged. The less police escalate the use of force, the safer all innocent people in the vicinity will be- whether that includes those being arrested or not. This is the reason I and other citizens oppose routinely arming the police with tasers and other potentially deadly firearms.

            2) You don’t invite violence through non-cooperation with your own arrest. In fact, it’s been found to be explicitly legal to nonviolently resist an illegal arrest. Sitting down, going limp, grabbing nearby objects, etc… none of these “invite violence”, and police don’t get to use pain as a tool to induce compliance. Force should be focused on moving people into detainment. Violent arrests are only necessary when a peaceful arrest is met with violent resistance.

            3) If some people in a protest initiate a violent response, it’s stupid and irresponsible to assume all protestors are violent, although it would be understandable for untrained citizens. But police receive training, and that should include the fact that escalating the use of force should be done on an individual basis.

      • Tazirev 1.2.2

        If you count the hats and vest with no hat that is 20, not to mention the van in the background disgorging it’s uncounted occupants

    • Dr Terry 1.3

      Now Smithy you have in effect declared yourself “anti-democracy” while I presume you dare to call yourself a New Zealander. Do you not know that peaceful protest is lawful, or that police brutality is unlawful? I guess not. In what way did those protesting “make it difficult” for the poor police (about 100 of them!)? You are entitled to your extreme right views, but they bring shame on our country, as do you..

    • Dr Terry 1.4

      Yes, stand back in safety like you, but never stand upon principle.

  2. Bored 2

    Seems to me 80 cops is overkill, sending the message for their masters. It is an insidious little trick that the right wing governments in NZ have used forever, it goes back to the Waterfront Disputes 100 years ago, always a Right wing government meeting dissent with violence.

    • tsmithfield 2.1

      Thats because there wasn’t 80, only 15 according to this article.

      • rocky 2.1.1

        Yes of course – I just made the figure up and TVNZ couldn’t possibly be wrong!

        • tsmithfield 2.1.1.1

          Just pointing out there is a substantial discrepancy. So, someone is wrong.

          • john 2.1.1.1.1

            Hey John here, the number of cops can’t be estimated by loooking at any one photo, by my estimate the main line of cops involved around 40 officers. There were also a couple of snatch squads and officers in the surrounding area keeping people off the road. There were also officers in paddy wagons and police vehicles. Driving home (while the protest was still going) I saw a number of police vehicles in the surroundiing area which I had no idea were there. I would say with complete certainty that over 60 officers were involved and I stand by my estimate of 80 at the height of the actions.

            As a comparison I carefully counted 45 police at the prison last week and over 50 at the langham the other day.

          • McFlock 2.1.1.1.2

            Looking at the photo linked to above, 15 is definitely wrong, even assuming a few non-sworn contractors (e.g. maybe the photographer in the front)

            • Ant 2.1.1.1.2.1

              There were at least 15 cops just on one side of the square of students earlier, probably about 50 or so that I could vouch for being there.

      • Dr Terry 2.1.2

        Now I understand better. Clearly you yourself are uneducated and cannot even read.

    • Steve 2.2

      100 years ago?
      2012 minus 100 = 1912.
      1951 is a year to remember.
      Why is it that lefties are so bad at math? do it on purpose?

  3. tsmithfield 3

    Anyway, if they really want to protest like the Greeks, they need to start firebombing the police or even burn a few innocent workers to death.

    The student protests are pathetic compared to the Greek ones. Not impressed.

    • Pascal's bookie 3.1

      If ever get so desperate that I steal lines from Bill fucking southland boring tit of unconventional tedium English, just fucking shoot me. I am not joking.

      • tsmithfield 3.1.1

        The Greeks have good reason to be seriously fucked off, which explains the way they protest.

        Sure, the students have reason to have a few gripes with the government, but it is a million miles away from the experience of the Greeks. So, I think any effort to mimick Greek protests is going to be quite pathetic because it doesn’t have anywhere near the same amount of anger behind it.

        • David 3.1.1.1

          I think we have a right to be seriously fucked off too: hacking away at public education, undermining ECE, selling the country down the river when they know everyone hates it, doing sick deals with gambling addiction pedlars and Trans Pacific Partners to hand lawmaking and sovereignty over to others: I am fucked off, and wish I was In Auckland to sit in the middle of the road with these people.

    • rocky 3.2

      That also was my point. While protesters have remained pretty tame, the police are taking lessons from the Greek Riot Police.

      • tsmithfield 3.2.1

        I’ll have a look at it on the news tonight. They usually like to sensationalize everything, so I expect I will see the very worst of what has happened.

        To be honest, after the Dotcom scenario, and a few other recent events, even I have lost respect for the police, so nothing would really surprise me.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1.1

            Every single one of the police there need to be imprisoned for assault and/or aiding and abetting.

            • Ee 3.2.1.1.1.1

              If the police could be held accountable for things like assault, they’d be too afraid of going to jail to do their jobs. Then the criminals would take over and the country would be destroyed. Don’t you see? We have to let the police brutalise whoever they want whenever they want, it’s the only way for us to be safe. Well, those of us who aren’t being brutalised by the cops anyway.

              • willie maley

                FFS we do not live in Columbia! Criminals take over the country get real.
                The Police have absolutely no right to brutalise anyone in a democracy.
                Finally I think that you will find that NZ is a pretty safe place, time to switch off ZB and cancel the subscription to Granny Herald/DomPost/The Press etc.

    • mike e 3.3

      Tsm Both you and bill bean brained bean counting English should be arrested under our anti terrorism laws for inciting terrorism

    • Dr Terry 3.4

      So this is really what you would like these peacefully protesting people to do? Oh, how much you would enjoy watching that spectacle, coward.

    • Murray Olsen 3.5

      People don’t protest to impress you, tsuckfield. The world does not revolve around the oversized ego that has displaced whatever brain may have once been between you ears. On a final note, please stop trying to incite violence. If you are in fact a paid agent provocateur, please find another job.

  4. mog_dolester 4

    “Not impressed”? This kind of misses the point. People are standing up for what they believe in as opposition to widely opposed policy made by a bunch headed by a wall street puppet. Whether you’re ‘impressed’ with the intensity of the protest or not is irrelevant to everyone but you.

  5. ianmac 5

    When is this happening? Date on the TV video is 9:27 am June 1.

  6. Pascal's bookie 6

    twitter’s good for this sort of thing:

    https://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/%23blockadethebudget

  7. Te Reo Putake 7

    TVNZ raw video here.

    • David 7.1

      Yes watch this raw video: you’ll get the idea. You wish you were there. You know whose side you’d be on.

  8. tsmithfield 8

    I saw the news and the raw TV footage. I didn’t see anything more than what I expect the police would do to me if I sat down in the middle of a busy road and refused to move.

    • True Freedom is Self-Governance 8.1

      I suspect it’s more likely they would just leave you in the road to get hit by a truck.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      The police shouldn’t do anything unless the protesters become violent which they didn’t, the police did.

      • tsmithfield 8.2.1

        “The police shouldn’t do anything unless the protesters become violent which they didn’t, the police did.”

        That is where you are wrong. The police are not there just for the rights of the protesters. They are also there for the rights of those who want to drive on the road. The police were in a no win situation here. If they did nothing and there was a major traffic jam, the police would get caned for doing nothing.

        What I could see was the police asking protesters to move. The protesters refused and attempted to make it as difficult as possible for the police to get hold of them to move them on. The police were then required to escalate their response to achieve this end. It looked to me like the police were using the minimum force they needed to clear the road. It wasn’t like the police were tasering them or anything.

        • felix 8.2.1.1

          And if they had been tasering, you’d be saying at least they weren’t shooting them. And so on.

          That’s the trouble with being such a consistent apologist for authority. Nothing you say can be taken seriously as there is no limit to what you’ll deem acceptable.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.2.1.2

          The whole point about protest is to cause a disruption so that people take notice. Having the police remove the disruption removes the point of the protest. Ergo, what the police should do is direct people around the protest.

          The police were then required to escalate their response to achieve this end.

          Nope, at no point were the police required to do that.

          It looked to me like the police were using the minimum force they needed to clear the road.

          Nope, it looked like police brutality. It was the police who resorted to unnecessary force.

          • tsmithfield 8.2.1.2.1

            “And if they had been tasering, you’d be saying at least they weren’t shooting them. And so on.”

            Perhaps you or Draco might like to explain how the police could have moved the protesters with any less force than what they did.

            “The whole point about protest is to cause a disruption so that people take notice.”

            They got their 5 minutes on the news.

            “Having the police remove the disruption removes the point of the protest.”

            Or the protesters could have moved off the road to stage their protest. They still would have been noticed. But they wouldn’t have been interfering with the rights of others to use the road.

            “Ergo, what the police should do is direct people around the protest.”

            Yeah right. As if that is a realistic possibility in peak hour traffic. Of course the students planned the timing to cause the most disruption possible and make it as difficult as possible for the authorities to avoid a major traffic jam.

            “Nope, at no point were the police required to do that.”

            If they wanted to clear the road, the protesters gave them no other option but to do what they did to achieve that end.

            Tsm “It looked to me like the police were using the minimum force they needed to clear the road.”

            Draco “Nope, it looked like police brutality. It was the police who resorted to unnecessary force.”

            You didn’t read what I said. I said the police used the minimum force they needed to clear the road.

            To make your point you need to show that the police could have cleared the road using less force than what they did. I’m all ears. How else could they have done it using less force.

            • Colonial Viper 8.2.1.2.1.1

              oh protests and civil unrest are so uncouth and inconvenient to the proper order of things.

            • McFlock 8.2.1.2.1.2

              “clearing a road” is analagous to removing people from a bar. Security staff need to do that without “striking or doing bodily harm”. Stronger violence is ony permitted as a defense from an assault on the person, not to protect property.
                
              If I could do that in a pub, the cops should be able to do that with nonviolent protestors. It’s not rocket science, it just takes training and teamwork.

            • Draco T Bastard 8.2.1.2.1.3

              Perhaps you or Draco might like to explain how the police could have moved the protesters with any less force than what they did.

              It wasn’t the polices job to move the protesters. Thought I made that clear.

              They got their 5 minutes on the news.

              Getting five minutes on the news, which more and more people are no longer watching due to it being irrelevant, isn’t the point.

              Yeah right. As if that is a realistic possibility in peak hour traffic. Of course the students planned the timing to cause the most disruption possible and make it as difficult as possible for the authorities to avoid a major traffic jam.

              Yep, totally. As I said, the whole point of a protest is to cause disruption.

              You didn’t read what I said. I said the police used the minimum force they needed to clear the road.
              To make your point you need to show that the police could have cleared the road using less force than what they did. I’m all ears. How else could they have done it using less force.

              They didn’t need to clear the road thus any force used was over and above what was needed.

            • Reality Bytes 8.2.1.2.1.4

              lol what sort of noobie driver expects good traffic flow in the CBD of poorly designed auckland. Traffic jams on queen st are a measure of our metropolitanness on the world stage

          • KJT 8.2.1.2.2

            All the law requires the police to do is to protect the safety of the public, AND THE RIGHTS OF PROTESTERS TO A LEGITIMATE PROTEST IN A PUBLIC PLACE.

            They are not required to clear the road.

            Nor do they have the right to prevent everyone from taking film.

            • tsmithfield 8.2.1.2.2.1

              The protesters should be thankful this isn’t China.

              As I said above, I support the right to protest. However, if the protesters want to cause maximum disruption to others, they shouldn’t whine if the police take all reasonable steps to remove the disruption.

              • McFlock

                they shouldn’t whine if the police take all reasonable steps to remove the disruption.
                    
                Indeed. The point is that the police used excessive force, i.e. force that was not reasonable. While some of them were apparently not wearing their badge numbers. This isn’t China – police are supposed to be accountable.

              • Draco T Bastard

                The police do not have the right to remove the protesters.

                Now do you understand?

                • weka

                  I’m fairly sure he won’t understand.
                   
                  What if it’s unlawful protest? Don’t you need a permit to have a march on a public street?

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Unlawful protest should only consider when others are in danger. Blocking a street doesn’t place anyone in danger.

                    • tsmithfield

                      Well, you obviously haven’t thought about that one. What about ambulances getting through? Might slowing them down endanger lives? What about if someone has a heart attack in a car in the resulting traffic jam and can’t get to hospital. Would that endanger lives?

                    • McFlock

                      Really, TS? That’s just weak.
                                
                      Even if the cops had the legal power to use force to clear the road (debatable), the level of force they used is legal because you think the cops would do well in a stuff opinion poll?
                             
                      Police use of force is restricted by laws. At least whine about not being able to draw conclusions until a judge has ruled.

                       

                    • McFlock

                      oh fuck, now he’s talking about hypothetical “could haves”.
                                 
                      Read s48 of the Crimes Act. You tell me if imaginary ambulance drivers having heart attacks comes close.
                          
                      Besides, what about the people who might have died because 40+ police officers were thumping peaceful protesters rather than preventig crime or even directing traffic?

                    • weka

                      I’m fairly sure that ambo drivers would have been kept up to date with which roads they could use. Also, how is it any different from say a parade, or a bike race, that closes the road?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I’m fairly sure that ambo drivers would have been kept up to date with which roads they could use.

                      And I’m reasonably certain that if the officers had said that an ambulance was coming through the protesters would have moved aside – no issues whatsoever.

                    • tsmithfield

                      “And I’m reasonably certain that if the officers had said that an ambulance was coming through the protesters would have moved aside – no issues whatsoever.”

                      Really? On what would you base that assumption?

                    • McFlock

                      Excellent point, Mr Imaginary Ambulance man.

                    • felix

                      “Really? On what would you base that assumption?”

                      On the entirely peaceful, lawful behaviour of the people protesting.

                      Only a fuckwit like you would even imagine anyone deliberately blocking an ambulance.

                    • tsmithfield

                      “On the entirely peaceful, lawful behaviour of the people protesting.”

                      And, blocking off a road without consent from the council, or roading authorities is lawful how? Try blocking off a road yourself and see how you get on.

                      “Only a fuckwit like you would even imagine anyone deliberately blocking an ambulance.”

                      You really are a moron, aren’t you. You obviously have never studied how individual responsibility can be diluted by social psychological factors such as deindividuation. or diffusion of responsibility.

                      Both of these factors could well have been at play in the protest. And both of these factors could have resulted in the group not letting an ambulance through. Actually do a bit of research before you make stupid statements.

                    • McFlock
                       
                       

                      Oh wow, the imaginary patient in the imaginary ambulance might have had delayed treatment because the protestors might have resisted the police’ imaginary efforts to clear the way for the imaginary ambulance on the only imaginary route to the hospital because the protestors might have (in that imaginary scenario) been swayed by a couple of group psychology principles to ignore the imaginary ambulance trying to imaginarily drive through them with its imaginary sirens going..
                             
                      That’s an immediate danger to life and limb, and therefore justifies actual harm? Um, no.  
                        
                      Doofus.
                       

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Good thing the police are immune to group dynamics though McFlock. Nothing to see here, move along or I’ll scone ya. Just let me take me badge off.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      And, blocking off a road without consent from the council, or roading authorities is lawful how?

                      Comes with the right to protest moron.

                  • tsmithfield

                    So, McFlock, I guess you don’t have any fire alarms in your house. Because, since your house hasn’t burnt down yet, the fire is only imaginary, not real.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      That’s an argument for having sirens on ambulances, which they have. Not letting any people into your house in case a fire starts and they refuse to leave, is the analogy you’re after.

              • Colonial Viper

                The protesters should be thankful this isn’t China.

                What a high standard you set for democratic protest

              • felix

                China, tsmithfield?

                You’ve just proved exactly what I said above (which you scoffed at.) There’s no limit to what you’ll deem acceptable

                • tsmithfield

                  The normative views of society ultimately determine the behaviour that is acceptable by the police, and how laws are developed and interpreted.

                  In this case, I suspect most would approve of the police taking reasonable steps to keep the road clear for other road users, so long as it was done in a way that involved the minimum level of force required to achieve that goal.

                  • felix

                    You’re advocating some pretty major changes to the law based on what you reckon most people think, tsmithfield.

                    Either that or you think the police are above the law.

                    • tsmithfield

                      The normative view of society has a major effect on how laws are interpreted and how far they can be pushed.

                    • felix

                      No, the police are either subject to the law or they’re not.

                      You’ve made your opinion on that question quite clear.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    I suspect that you’re talking out your arse.

                    the police had no need to clear the road.

                  • Blue

                    “The normative views of society ultimately determine the behaviour that is acceptable by the police, and how laws are developed and interpreted.”

                    The majority of the public were on the side of the police after the Kent State massacre.

        • SoTiredofTsmithfieldsShittyImputs 8.2.1.3

          I think you’ll find the same protesters sat in the middle of the road last week for over 5 hours and there were no arrests then. This all seemed a little planned. I would know, I was there. The police began arresting the moment the protest began.

          Oh and god forbid a traffic jam should occur when basic human rights are being oppressed!

    • Dr Terry 8.3

      The point is that you would not have the guts to sit down in any road.

    • David 8.4

      Or maybe not. But the message will be playing back to you plenty more times in the next couple years, tsmithfield. You might get it. Better you do.

  9. Carol 9

    I think the police are using the UK police playbook – kettling, using violent arrests to try to discredit protesters in the media… hope it backfires on them.

    Good on the students for the tenacity in keeping the protest and protests going! Shame on you Bill & John!

  10. Jackal 10

    Excessive force used on students

    Upwards of 43 peaceful protesters have been arrested today by police using excessive force with a number of injuries occurring…

    • BM 10.1

      Excessive force?, did some of these kids get their hair messed up?

      • Jackal 10.1.1

        It’s excessive force you condescending dork because it was a peaceful protest and in some cases three officers were involved in physically manhandling female protestors using force beyond what was necessary. That is the definition of excessive force.

        There was also no issue that the public was in danger from the protestors who caused a public disturbance, and so the police did not in fact have legal authority to intervene in the way they did, especially because they put people in danger of injury through the excessive force utilized.

        • BM 10.1.1.1

          They were being a pain in the arse.
          Police have more important matters to deal with than some whiny kids having a tantrum.

          • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.1.1

            Well then, perhaps they should have been doing those things rather than assaulting students.

            • BM 10.1.1.1.1.1

              The jobs of the police is to keep the peace and maintain order, the students were causing an issue and were removed.
              If your going to have a cry about been man-handled while protesting you may have to face up to the fact you might not be cut out for this whole protesting lark.

              • Colonial Viper

                Apologist for the use of state force against lawful, democratic protestors

              • weka

                If your going to have a cry about been man-handled while protesting you may have to face up to the fact you might not be cut out for this whole protesting lark.
                 

                Not been on many protests then, have you. What about all those protests with grannies, and women with their babies in prams? Think they should be manhandled by the neck and have their face pressed into the tarmac? Or is it ok to treat students like that because they’re all hardarses and the only people on those protests are the ones who are up for the violence? Seriously, you want protest in this country to become the preserve of violent youth and violent police?

              • felix

                “The jobs of the police is to keep the peace and maintain order, the students were causing an issue and were removed.”

                From all accounts the protest was peaceful and orderly. Try again.

              • Draco T Bastard

                The police weren’t “keep[ing] the peace”, they were the ones disrupting it.

                If your going to have a cry about been man-handled while protesting you may have to face up to the fact you might not be cut out for this whole protesting lark.

                I don’t whinge, I act.

              • I would prefer, and most supporters of democratic norms and civil liberties would agree, that “peace and order” (aka. addressing the annoyance of some apathetic foot traffic) are prioritized lower than people’s rights to free assembly and political speech.

                The job of the police is more accurately to protect the rights and physical safety of ALL citizens, including, when possible, those that they need to arrest, question, search, or otherwise take action against. They did neither of those things in this incident.

          • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1.2

            So why were dozens of police assigned to dealing with whiny kids, instead of “more important matters”?

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.2

        They were forcibly removed from where they chose to be.

      • felix 10.1.3

        There was no need for force. Which means ANY force used was excessive.

        And just from the tv clip that force included picking people up by the throat, pushing faces into the road, pushing people over, dragging people on the ground.

        None of it necessary, all of it assault and all of it against people going about their lawful business. If you did any of those things to anyone you’d be facing a judge in the morning and so should those cops.

        • Pete George 10.1.3.1

          There was no need for force. Which means ANY force used was excessive.

          Yes. And here was no need for protesting. But some people protested, and some used force. And thousands had their day disrupted.

          Was anything gained out of that by anyone?

          • Draco T Bastard 10.1.3.1.1

            Ah, the Apologist for Dictatorship arrives.

          • KJT 10.1.3.1.2

            SO. Pete.

            Your opinion is;

            THERE IS NO RIGHT TO PROTEST IN A PUBLIC PLACE?

            Pleased we have cleared that up.

            Notice the cops were happy to allow farmers to block traffic during the methane tax protests.

            • Pete George 10.1.3.1.2.1

              That’s not my opinion at all, you’re making things up. There was a time here that moderators frowned on that sort of attempt at applied bullshit.

              Of course there are rights to protest. There are also responsibilities to not break the law. And there are also considerations of other people’s rights to go about their lawful business.

              I haven’t seen much but from what I’ve heard protesters took their protesting too far and police took their policing too far. And a lot of people got pissed off. And nothing seems to have been achieved.

              • Colonial Viper

                Ohhhhh PG thinks the right to democratic protest is a right, as long as its not too inconvenient for everyone else!!!

                And nothing seems to have been achieved.

                lol. You don’t seem to know much about the history of protest movements. Those in power are paying close attention, mark my words.

              • weka

                What laws were broken Pete? By the students I mean. We know which ones the police broke.

              • felix

                “from what I’ve heard protesters took their protesting too far”

                And broke the law? Can you give us an example? All reports I’ve heard have been of a peaceful protest but if you’ve seen otherwise I’d certainly like to know about it.

                • I’ve got no idea what laws were broken, if any. I wasn’t there, I’ve only seen minimal coverage, and I don’t know the law regarding protesting and blocking carriageways.

                  Superintendent Mike Clement said there had been 43 arrests so far.

                  Either they were breaking the law or they’ve been falsely arrested. I would hope the police have a better knowledge of what is unlawful than a few protesters trying to matyrise themselves, but if the police didn’t have a right to arrest anyone they should be dealt to. We’ll have to wait and see who ends up in court.

                  • McFlock

                    Fuck I hope you never serve on a jury – “he must have done it, the cops wouldn’t have arrested him without a reason…”
                     
                     
                     

                  • rocky

                    We’ll have to wait and see who ends up in court.

                    Well the protesters aren’t being charged so they’re not going to court. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see whether any of the protesters take a case against the police.

                  • Jackal

                    Being that the police are releasing all but a few without charge, it appears that they were indeed wrongfully arrested. But don’t let that little fact get in the way of your sanctimonious waffling Pete George.

                    • infused

                      No it doesn’t. It means they can’t be bothered going through all the bs to charge them.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Easy, they were falsely arrested. It’s what happens in non-democratic societies.

                  • Do you believe in democracy, Pete?

                    Because it has a little prerequisite known as “the presumption of innocence”. You don’t get to assume that people “must have been arrested for some reason” until you have reasonable assurance that there was both a reason and sufficient evidence to support that reason. You personally admitted you don’t have either, so you should probably stop being an authoritarian for a while and just pipe down.

                    Blindly supporting the police is not democratic. It is quite reasonable to question police action until such time as it is proven to be justified, the same way we can question the legislative and judicial branches of our government.

                    • I’m not “blindly supporting police”. But in general we have to believe that our police mostly do the right thing (I think they do) and sometimes get things wrong.

                      Protesters know how to use police to create publicity for their causes.

                      And I suspect that if angry commuters had attacked and assuatled protesters the protesters would want a degree of police protection and action against the offenders.

                      Of course if it turns our that some of the police were the angry assualters then it’s not so flash.

                      But as you point out, there’s “the presumption of innocence”. Blindly supporting protest action is as stupid as blindly supporting the police. Isn’t it?

                    • Jackal

                      Sheesh! Nobody is “Blindly supporting protest action” Pete George. We know why they’re protesting, we support the cause. I think most people also support the way in which the protest was conducted ie peaceful messages to try and get politicians to listen.

                      You say “Protesters know how to use police to create publicity for their causes,” in effect blaming the protestors for the actions of police. This is typical rightwing blame the victim bullshit that is used to justify all sorts of abuse.

                      The police weren’t there to protect protesters from angry commuters. Please get real Pete George.

                    • You’re making false ssumptions again Jackal. I’m not blaming protesters for over inappropriate actions of the police.

                      But protesters often know who to push the envelope to attract the most attention. That sometimes includes putting them into situations they know police are likely to react to. Some invite arrest to get attention and some try to goad police into inappropriate action. It’s all part of the protest game.

                      So protesters are to blame for police overreaction, but they are responsible for putting themselves in a position where they know it’s quite possible. Many of them take well known and calculated risks.

                      I’m surprised you’re not aware of that.

                    • Jackal

                      A protest is meant to attract attention Pete George.

                      You say you’re not blaming protesters for the excessive force used by the police, but then contradict this statement again. You’re argument amounts to “they asked for it.”

                      I suppose in righting land; “She asked for it by talking back,” and “It’s the fault of the poor because they made bad decisions,” etc.

                      You claiming the protestors wanted to be arrested is some mighty fine quackery Pete George. I can see you’re in the right party then. Quack!

                    • weka

                       

                      But protesters often know who to push the envelope to attract the most attention. That sometimes includes putting them into situations they know police are likely to react to. Some invite arrest to get attention and some try to goad police into inappropriate action. It’s all part of the protest game.
                      So protesters are to blame for police overreaction, but they are responsible for putting themselves in a position where they know it’s quite possible. Many of them take well known and calculated risks.
                       

                      That last bit is such bullshit. Unless the protest is organised by the violent student league, or is advertised as civil disobedience, in this country at least it is reasonably to assume that ANY citizen can turn up to a protest and expect to be safe from the police. Please stop talking about protestors as if they are all one homogenous group (and one that in your imagination fits things presented to you on TV by a biased media rather than what actually happens on the ground)
                       
                      ‘Inviting arrest’ is not synonymous with violence. Even where you have individuals who want to provoke violence, that doesn’t mean that every person at the protest is violent or intending violence. See Matthews comments today for a good explanation of the police’s responsibility (ie the police are trained and should not be treating everyone the same).
                       
                       

                    • But as you point out, there’s “the presumption of innocence”. Blindly supporting protest action is as stupid as blindly supporting the police. Isn’t it?

                      No, police don’t get a “presumption of innocence” in their actions until such point as they are actually accused of criminal abuse of their powers, (in which case they are privy to the same legal rights and protections as the rest of the populace) in ordinary police work they bear the burden of needing to justify their actions and level of response- it’s part of the responsibility of getting the extra legal powers and equipment and training that police officers are afforded, as police are not just citizens, they’re citizens AND low-level members of the executive arm of the government.

                      But protesters often know who to push the envelope to attract the most attention. That sometimes includes putting them into situations they know police are likely to react to. Some invite arrest to get attention and some try to goad police into inappropriate action. It’s all part of the protest game.

                      So protesters are to blame for police overreaction, but they are responsible for putting themselves in a position where they know it’s quite possible. Many of them take well known and calculated risks.

                      In the event that protestors actually use violence to elicit a violent response, those individuals are responsible and it is justified for the police to escalate the level of force they employ against those individuals. Trying to justify collective punishment based on the actions of a few is asinine at best.

                      Most protestors who get arrested are prepared to do so if necessary, but usually just want to exercise their legal rights and would prefer to not be arrested, even if it does generate good publicity for them to be violently arrested for peaceful protest. Unfortunately western democracies and their puppets are becoming increasingly unfriendly to creative, peaceful protest- the varied reactions to Occupy, the Arab spring, and movements like Yo Soy 132 are great examples.

                      And furthermore, we have plenty of evidence to the contrary that the protest was entirely non-violent until police unnecessarily disrupted it, denying people their rights to free assembly and speech.

              • Draco T Bastard

                That’s not my opinion at all, you’re making things up.

                no, not making things up. You stated quite specifically that you consider protest to be illegal.

                There are also responsibilities to not break the law.

                Protest is inherently breaking the law. That, more often than not, is it’s purpose – to show the stupidity of the law.

                And there are also considerations of other people’s rights to go about their lawful business.

                Lawful protest meets lawful business to go about things as if they didn’t matter. guess which is more important.

                And a lot of people got pissed off.

                Yep, that was the whole point.

              • KJT

                No you fuckwit.

                You have just made it clear you consider there is no right to protest, if it “inconveniences” anyone.

                In fact the students were going about their lawful business. PROTESTING IS STILL LEGAL IN NZ.

                The police obstructed members of the public and assaulted them. WHILE THEY WERE GOING ABOUT LAWFUL BUSINESS.

                Just like police in the UK.

                Of course knowing you are likely to be violently assaulted by police, if you protest, has rather a dampening effect on free speech.

                No doubt that is what is intended by the police overreaction.

          • felix 10.1.3.1.3

            Well yes you’re technically correct that there’s no immediate threat to survival from not protesting, but only in the same sense as you have no “need” to go for a walk. Or drive a car. Or do any of the other things you can lawfully do in a free democratic society.

            Of which protesting in the street is one. And that’s just a fact, Pete, whether you think it ought to be one or not.

            You can complain all you like about people annoying you and getting in your way and slowing you down, but when you start assaulting them you’re breaking the law.

            • Pete George 10.1.3.1.3.1

              Ifhave no “need” to walk illegally or drive my car illegally and inconvienience other people in the process. If I piss people off I have to accept their could be consequences. Especially if I piss off the police.

              • Colonial Viper

                The inconvenience is just starting 🙂

              • weka

                Sorry, but pissing off the police is not a crime in NZ. The way it’s supposed to work is that if you break a law the police can (not always will) arrest you. They will look at the thing you have done and judge whether it’s in the public interest to police that. How they ‘feel’ (eg being pissed off) shouldn’t come into it.

              • felix

                No Pete, it’s not illegal to protest even if it inconveniences someone.

                Just as it’s not illegal for you to drive your car even though traffic can be inconvenient for other people too.

                If someone grabbed you by the throat and pulled you out of your car because they found you an inconvenience, that would be a serious assault.

                If a police officer did that to you, Pete, I would stick up for your right to drive your car lawfully and legally without being assaulted, regardless of how many people were inconvenienced by your lawful legal rightful activity.

                • If I sat in the middle of a street and refused to move I’d expect to eventually be forcibly removed. And if I actively resisted then I would be taking a risk for my wellbeing.

                  Am I wrong on that? Do I have the right to block a street and protest there indefinitely?

                  The protesters would help win some wider sympathy if they had a clear and noble cause they were protesting about. What was this protest about? A budget protest? We probably can’t ban budgets, can we?

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    If I sat in the middle of a street and refused to move I’d expect to eventually be forcibly removed.

                    then you’d be wrong. Protest is legal and that means disrupting traffic flows during that protest is also legal.

                    Am I wrong on that? Do I have the right to block a street and protest there indefinitely?

                    Yes, you do.

                    We probably can’t ban budgets, can we?

                    But we can protest them . In fact, that’s the whole point of protests being legal.

                  • felix

                    Don’t be disingenuous, Pete. You know they aren’t trying to ban budgets.

                    I’d like to see you address my hypothetical example first and then I’ll address yours.

                    Is it ok to assault motorists because they’re blocking up the roads or not?

                    If not, why was it ok to assault these people today? Both the protesters and the motorists are going about their lawful business. What’s the difference?

                    • Actually I don’t know what they are trying to achieve, I’ve heard various vague things. Like:

                      A statement from the protesters say that the campaign “is a call for a stop to the neoliberal attacks on New Zealand’s education sector”.

                      Ban neoliberalism? I’d like to see their aims a bit more clearly defined. Does anyone here know?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Ban neoliberalism? I’d like to see their aims a bit more clearly defined. Does anyone here know?

                      You do realise the protesters aren’t here to satisfy your petty requirements?

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Pete, if you are so politically ignorant that you can’t work out what:

                      “A statement from the protesters say that the campaign “is a call for a stop to the neoliberal attacks on New Zealand’s education sector”.

                      means in the light of the budget then Peter Dunne should be fucking ashamed of putting you on a party list.

                      And if you’re so illiterate that you think it means ‘ban neoliberalism’ then you have no business being on these here internets. Off to the picture pages with you laddie.

                    • weka

                      Have you forgotten how to use google Pete?
                       
                      Blockade the Budget
                       

                      About
                      This is a call to all students, teachers, and workers within the wider education sector to stand up and make a change. This budget will only further disadvantage our society. It is our duty to resist.

                      Description

                      “We, students, teachers, researchers, workers, politicians, parents…, call for a transformation to the current fees, loans and repayment system in tertiary education. We do not need small reforms, we need structural change. When the government and the elite insist that the only way to fund education is indebtedness, we say that education is a human right and a social necessity. We say that targeting students who cannot pay and landing them with crippling debt, is a violation of the principles of equality and freedom that our country is supposedly built on. We say that democracy demands educated and creative people, and that these changes, and the fees and loans system as it already stands, impoverish nearly every citizen who decides to pursue tertiary education. We say that the current government and the elite are destabilizing our country and mindlessly trading our future for their own privileged present.”

                      The above statement is supported by the Council of Trade Unions, the Service and Food Workers Union, the Tertiary Education Union/Te Hautū Kahurangi O Aotearoa, the New Zealand Tramways and Public Passenger Transport Union, Actor’s Equity, Nga Tauira Maori, the Commerce Students’ Association, the University of Auckland Samoan Students’ Association, the Mana movement, Socialist Aotearoa, Auckland Action Against Poverty, Quality Public Education Coalition…

                      **This is a call to all students, teachers, and workers within the wider education sector to stand up and make a change. This budget will only further disadvantage our society. It is our duty to resist.**
                       

                      http://www.facebook.com/BlockadeTheBudget/info

                    • tsmithfield

                      If we apply the analogy exactly, then yes it is OK.

                      If the motorists are deliberately sitting stationary in the middle of the road in their cars with the intention of blocking traffic, and refuse to move on instruction of the police, then the police have the right to use the minimum force possible to remove them, and clear the cars out of the way.

                    • felix

                      More disingenuity, Pete.

                      I’m sure the recent public discourse about the budget and its impact on the education sector hasn’t completely passed you by. It’s been the focus of much of the blogosphere as well as tv, radio and print news after all.

                      Interestingly your criticism is very close to the criticism often leveled at you and your politics; that your aims aren’t clearly defined and you don’t say enough about what you believe and what you really want to achieve. You don’t like the way politics operates but you don’t seem to have many ideas about what you’d do differently.

                      If I were to follow your lead tonight I might disingenuously ask ‘Are you trying to ban government?’

                    • Sounds like they’re using the budget as an excuse to promote socialism. They have a wee way to go to inspire a popular uprising.

                      Real socialists that inspired real revolutions were suffering real hardships and oppression. They were widespread problems.

                      Idealists from the lucky generations (over the last half century) have struggled to get anywhere near popular support. And they haven’t come close to working out what is needed to succeed in revolution in New Zealand.

                      Socialist slogans tend to fail to win popular support. I suspect the budget protests will be pissing more people off than winning over support. And to succeed in revolting you need a fair bit of popular support.

                      PB, I haven’t bothered doing Antineoliberalism 101 yet, I’ll consider it if I think it’s worth doing some time. The antineoliberalists I talked to during occupy had quite unrealistic aims. Like, replacing the nasty banking system and the nasty political system sounds kinda anti but they don’t seem to be able to explain how to deal with a lot of resulting complications.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      So you don’t know what socialism is either then, good oh.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I haven’t bothered doing Antineoliberalism 101 yet,

                      From what I can make out, you haven’t studied basic politics yet which is a precursor to Antineoliberalism.

                      In other words, you’re an uneducated moron.

                    • If I were to follow your lead tonight I might disingenuously ask ‘Are you trying to ban government?’

                      No, trying to improve it, more chance of achieving that from getting partly insithe system. One person can only do so much but you might be surprised how it’s possible to get somewhere. There’s downsides and less than ideal situations but that’s what you get anywhere.

                      In a few months I’ve managed to get a modest level of influence in a balance of power situation, partly through a lot of effort, partly through luck. Others that had a go at fastracking made it in to parliament with NZF, the election swung their way, there was a slight possibility it could have been me instead.

                      And this is only the beginning of possibilities. It’s quite fascinating really. I’m mostly operating independently but have established a number of channels of communication, locally and nationally. Nearly scored a significant coup this week, foiled by a flight cancellation. Still made significant progress.

                      Don’t make the mistake of thinking what I say here is what I say everywhere. Each forum has a different purpose.

                    • DtB, it’s true I’m not very interested in academic political theories, but I have studied practical politics extensively. Stuff “neoliberalism”, I’m up to The Standard 303, and that’s just here. You’ve been very helpful, thanks.

                      One funny thing – since I first came onto political blogs three years ago most participants are still idealising and ranting the same old, virtually unchanged.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Dude, no one makes the mistake of thinking that you’re not an, at least, two faced bastard. So you can rest your head on that score.

                      as for the rest, what on gods green earth are you talking about. We were never in danger of having you in parliament. dunne’s onnly there b/c the tories cut him a deal, and seeing he couldn’t drag a single numpty in with him, they won’t be cutting the deal again.

                      And you got what? 200 votes? the students today got more people on the street than you could get into a ballot box son.

                      Seriously. Calm down. You’re delusional.

                    • McFlock

                      no, PB – Pete’s cunning plans are all falling into place, and in a couple of years the Macchiavelli of the South will make his move and become the universally loved Emperor of the Earth.
                             
                       
                       

                    • PB, I said it was a long shot but it’s happened before, it could happen again. I’m actually happier in the position I’m in now anyway, still working my way in.

                      McFlock, I’ll only ever be a minor background player, but I suspect I’ve already gotten further than many who visit here.

                    • McFlock

                      Keep telling yourself that, dude.

                    • felix

                      Pete you’ve failed to note my point at all.

                      Of course I don’t think you’re trying to ban government. That’s as absurd a statement as saying the protesters, unhappy about the education budget, want to ban budgets.

                      It was incredibly dishonest of you to suggest that you actually thought that might be the case and you know it.

                    • felix, some of them do actually want to ban the sort of budgets we’re referring to, I’ve talked to people and heard people who want to eliminate banks and they want to eliminate central government.

                    • felix

                      This is specifically a protest about the education budget Pete and you know it. You even quoted part of a statement that said so.

                  • weka

                    Pete, if you don’t know what the protest was about, why do you feel qualified to have an opinion about its validity?

              • mike e

                NZ has long been recognized as a country which any one can freely protest.
                The Springbok tour
                The land march Dame Whina cooper
                The hikoi of hope
                Then National party MP Shane Aderns tractor on parliament steps none of you right whingers were upset or complain in fact “uall’ Defened his right to protest!

          • weka 10.1.3.1.4

            ” And here was no need for protesting.”
             
            WTF? Why should you get to say what protests are needful or not?

            • Colonial Viper 10.1.3.1.4.1

              Those troublesome protestors! Ruining the decorum of the status quo!

  11. weka 11

    “They got their 5 minutes on the news.”
     
    Yes, but what for? Like Carol, I find it hard not to see the police overkill response as an intentional manipulation of the situation. Better to have news coverage of students arrested for causing trouble, than news coverage of political protest. I’m not sure what level that happens at though. I see the inference on TS a bit that Key et al have some control over what the police do at an operational level. How does that work?
     
    Or is it more that the police culture has changed again, so that they now see their job as being to clear the streets rather than make sure things don’t get out of hand. Obviously we’ve come a long way from the Red Squad days, but we seem to moving a long way from the big protests in the 90s that were largely without violence. Again, how does that work, how has that more recent change in police culture come about?
     
    I find it scarey that such a small protest could garner such a police presence and response.

    • Carol 11.1

      The Kettling that happened under Thatcher was a deliberate government strategy – clearly. But how does that work? How does the message get from the PM to the controlling person/people in the police?

    • Draco T Bastard 11.2

      Or is it more that the police culture has changed again, so that they now see their job as being to clear the streets rather than make sure things don’t get out of hand.

      police culture always seems to be to support the government. This means, in effect, that left leaning governments result in fairly mild police response to protest and a heavy handed response when a RWNJ government is in power.

      I find it scarey that such a small protest could garner such a police presence and response.

      So do I.

      • weka 11.2.1

        Maybe, but those big protests in the early 90s were during a Nat govt. Maybe there hadn’t been enough time for the police culture to change.
         
        And we don’t replace civil servants with each change in govt, so it’s hard to see how either a message from the PM or a change in culture would take effect. Maybe it’s in the police culture all the time, and needs something specific to let it out. I’m thinking about some of the overreactions in Chch after the earthquake.

        • Draco T Bastard 11.2.1.1

          those big protests in the 1990s were, relatively, smaller than the ones in the 1970s.

    • David H 11.3

      “I find it scarey that such a small protest could garner such a police presence and response. ”

      Then just imagine how the would over react if they had a nation wide strike to deal with. Nothing but thugs in uniform. And those who take off their identification so as to be unidentifiable whilst they break the law, need to be identified, and charged.

  12. muzza 12

    Its very clear that the response is multi faceted.

    1: Lets the foreign masters see the local sherrif is taking a hard line
    2: Sends a message to other potential protest groups

    The response, like occupy, is a deliberate tactic, sending multiple messages. If badges were removed again, then what we are witnessing is the open law breaking of the defenders of the law!

    There is going to be a large amount in years to come…Still, what the man wants, he gets!

    • shreddakj 12.1

      Yeah there was one cop without his badges on today but I think he got pulled off after we yelled no badge and all pointed at him.

  13. Sunny 13

    During the Springbok Tour the Police got around the whole ‘wearing their badges’ thing by wearing them, but concealed under their coats. Got away with it back then.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      There was a case a few months ago of a police officer swapping their ID number with another officer. Bad news going down that road.

      • shreddakj 13.1.1

        If I recall correctly, during Occupy the same badge number was seen on a handful of officers.

        • muzza 13.1.1.1

          Police keep ID secret: Occupy protesters

          —Yup, seems like a trend migh be forming here….Nice work with the point and shame on the copper by the way!

          Marauding students surround police

          —Nice title attempting to demonise the protesters….

          We got some very big problems coming, and once the real redundancies start in the public sector, along with local asset sell offs (off the table for the time being), its going to be ugly!

          • weka 13.1.1.1.1

            That’s quite bizarre re the Occupy thing. Where did they get a whole bunch of ID badges that were the same? Surely the people who manage police supplies would notice.

          • weka 13.1.1.1.2

            Someone should make a complaint to the Press Council about that headline. My dictionary says that marauding is synonymous with things like plundering, pillaging, looting etc. Is there any evidence that any of those kinds of things happened?

            • fatty 13.1.1.1.2.1

              it is the NZ Herald…when did they ever attempt to present the news?
              I wouldn’t wipe my arse with that paper

  14. Carol 14

    Thank-you to Auckland students for protesting the right for all to quality education, and for the importance to society of education. Thank-you for exercising your right to peaceful protest – of fundamental importance in a democracy.

    Thanks to the NZ Police for showing a lot of young people, first-hand, the naked face of an authoritarian state.

    Thanks to TVNZ for the raw footage of the arrests available online.

    Thanks to John Darroch for his photos taken under difficult circumstances.

    I hope this lesson shows many people the importance of struggling for a true democracy in NZ, with the kind of quality education system a democracy needs in order to thrive.

    Thanks to the student who managed to hold up a card with “biased media” written on it for a few seconds, when a TV3 reporter was doing a live report from the protest last night for TV3 news.

    Any chance it’ll be a wake-up call to media to take on the role they should play in a democracy? A critical fourth estate that holds the government to account and speaks truth to power?

  15. tsmithfield 15

    So, did the protestors take this step?

    From the article:

    When planning a peaceful demonstration you should inform the Police of your intention. They will be able to inform you whether the local authority for your particular area requires permits for public demonstrations. If so, you will need to obtain a permit, which may have conditions attached to it.

    The general practice is to allow the use of placards as long as they are not too large and are not obstructive.

    The article agrees with points I made earlier. It is not only the rights of the protesters, but the rights of others that need to be considered.

    The NEW ZEALAND BILL OF RIGHTS ACT 1990 gives every New Zealander the right to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly. However, these freedoms are not absolute: they are limited by other people’s rights as well as by other reasonable limitations that can be justified in a democratic state.

    • muzza 15.1

      Go away you snivelling little civillian, who clearly wants to see this country taken away…

      If you have kids, nieces or nephews in your family, you should be thanking these protesters for trying to take a stand on their behalf…

      Because your words here indicate that you are a scared, complicit little apologist.

      You can proudly tell the youngsters in the family, that while their future was taken away, you were sticking pins in the efforts of those who tried to prevent the theft!

    • seeker 15.2

      tsmithfield
      Still does not give police the right to dangerously manhandle or punch people, especially peaceful young protestes.. Police should be trained to deal with a peaceful protest in a professional and safe manner. Perpetrators of violence and injury should be held accountable.

      Tried to find what I saw on the 4.30pm TVNZ news yesterday for you tsmithfield. Some members of the police force behaved so violently that I cried out. The students were peaceful young people and to their credit did not retaliate. By the 6 o’clock news TVNZ had sanitised their 4.30 footage, but I found much of what I saw on said footage on TV3 videos which I linked to on Open Mike earlier but will do so again here for you to see.Student protests Auckland Queen Street, Friday, June1st 2012 TV3

      Violent strangling punching from police 10.36pm news
      http://www.3news.co.nz/More-protests-to-come—students/tabid/309/articleID/256436/Default.aspx

      “Three police to one woman” 3.07pm
      http://www.3news.co.nz/Arrests-at-student-anti-Budget-protest/tabid/423/articleID/256395/Default.aspx

      6.01 news Jane Liscome,, some violence from police shown
      http://www.3news.co.nz/Dozens-of-arrests-as-students-protest/tabid/309/articleID/256414/Default.aspx

      Our young people do not deserve this from the police or the Government, especially Bill English. All should know better.

    • felix 15.3

      tsmithfield you’re so full of shit. There’s no “other people’s rights” that includes punching someone in the head repeatedly while standing over them. No “other people” have the right to do that, yet that is precisely what you’re defending.

      I also note that none of those arrested are being charged by the police, so there go all your “breaking the law” arguments, dick.

      You’re also trying to suggest that your first paragraph implies that you need the permission of the police to protest, which you certainly do not.

      • tsmithfield 15.3.1

        Nah. You are full of shit, Felix.

        You said numerous times earlier that the protests weren’t illegal. Well I have provided evidence that they might well have been illegal protests if permits are required for protests in that area and the protesters haven’t taken the necessary steps to get those permits.

        If the protesters were breaking the law, then the police were entitled to use reasonable force to enforce the law if the protesters weren’t prepared to respond to instructions to comply with the law. I can’t see anything in those video clips that would be more than the minimum force required to force non-complying individuals to comply.

          • Nick K 15.3.1.1.1

            Even if they hadn’t, it’s not an arrestable offence.

            But obstructing a public way is.

            • tsmithfield 15.3.1.1.1.1

              Yes, you are right, Nick.

              22. Obstructing public way—(1) Every person is liable to a fine not
              exceeding $500 who, without reasonable excuse, obstructs any public way
              and, having been warned by a constable to desist,—
              (a) Continues with that obstruction; or
              (b) Does desist from that obstruction but subsequently obstructs that
              footpath again, or some other footpath in the same vicinity, in
              circumstances in which it is reasonable to deem the warning to
              have applied to the new obstruction as well as the original one.

              (2) In this section—
              “Obstructs”, in relation to a public way, means unreasonably
              impedes normal passage along that way:
              “Public way” means every road, street, path, mall, arcade, or
              other way over which the public has the right to pass and
              repass.
              Cf. 1927, No. 35, s. 3 (eee); 1958, No. 87, s. 2 (1)

              So, not only has no evidence been provided to show that the prostesters had the required permit to protest in the area. From the video footage it seems clear they were committing an offence by obstructing a public way.

              So, it seems highly possible that neither the protest itself, or the actions of the protesters were legal. Therefore, the police were required to take action.

              So, Felix, do you still claim that the protesters weren’t acting illegally?

              • Jackal

                Under that law, the Police were allowed to take action in the form of requesting the protestors to move and then giving a warning. If the warning was not adhered to, the police had the right to issue a fine not exceeding $500.

                There is no law that allows for the police to use excessive force.

              • muzza

                1: You have a desire to prove yourself correct
                2: You have a desire to ensure that those who own the laws rule
                3: You are a sycophant
                4: Your words indicate you are ok to see people abused if it proves yourself right, and upholds laws
                5: Go explain to the youngsters in your family what a coward you are!

                Edit: “there are plenty of video shots on the links provided of students complying obediently who were being led calmly away by the police without any need for force at all”

                — This confirms you are the worst typr of snivelling coward you can read online!

              • weka

                I think tsmithfield has a point. I was asking about this last night – there are situations where a protest is unlawful eg running a protest on the street without a permit. Not sure what the law actually says about that: is it the organisers that are breaking the law, or every person that walks on the street? How would you know which people were part of the unlwaful protest and which people were passers by or observers?
                 
                However, tsmithfiled you don’t get to challenge the validity of other people’s arguments until you know what the fuck you are talking about. We don’t know if they had a permit or not. Why don’t you go find out before assuming they didn’t and that what they did was illegal? Try phoning the Students Association in Auckland, or any of the media outlets.
                 
                I think it’s reasonable to assume at this stage that they had the necessary permission to march. If they didn’t the media would be all over that (and the police would be making damn sure the media knew that it was an unlawful protest). On the other hand, the media are so damn stupid now…
                 
                I agree with what others are saying – police still don’t have the right to commit violence to remove people from a public place (unless the people are damaging other people or property).

                • tsmithfield

                  “Why don’t you go find out before assuming they didn’t and that what they did was illegal?….I think it’s reasonable to assume at this stage that they had the necessary permission to march.”

                  No, its not my responsibility to come up with this evidence. Look above. There are plenty of comments asserting that the protest was legal. It is the responsibility of those making that assertion to come up with the evidence to prove it actually was legal. No one has done that yet, despite some seeming to have intimate knowledge about the protest.

                  • weka

                    Don’t be a dick. Street protest in NZ is common enough that it’s reasonable to assume that any given protest is lawful. ie the unlawful ones would be in the minority and would stand out like sore thumbs.
                     
                    So why assume that this one is an unlawful one? Any particular reason apart from your own antipathy?
                     
                    And as I said, if it were unlawful do you really believe that the police PR wouldn’t have made sure by now that the media knew?
                     
                    Querying whether it’s a lawful protest is valid IMO. Assuming it’s not without any evidence is lazy or disingenuous. Claiming it is is unlawful without any evidence is stupid.

                    • tsmithfield

                      I could argue the opposite side to that.

                      If the street protesters had a permit, don’t you think they would be waving it around to all in sundry to justify their argument of police brutality? The fact the permit hasn’t come to light is much more telling IMO.

                    • weka

                      You could argue the opposite, but you have no basis to do that.
                       
                      Please show me the evidence that your posts here are lawful. I think they’re not and it’s up to you now to prove that they are just because I’ve questioned them.

                  • tsmithfield

                    Unfortunately, it is impossible to prove that something doesn’t exist. And I haven’t been able to find a register of permitted events on the Auckland council website.

                    However, it appears highly unlikely that the protest was permitted, and therefore would have been illegal.

                    That is because any event (including protests) on the road requires a traffic management plan.

                    From what I have seen, there wasn’t any evidence of a traffic management plan being implimented in the protests. Hence, it seems highly likely that either the protest wasn’t permitted, or, even if they had a permit, the protesters weren’t acting in accordance with their permit, since it would have required a traffic management plan, and none appeared to be in action.

                    Your turn.

                    • weka

                      Lyn’s explanation of why protests don’t need permits. Also Rocky’s explanation in the post itself of why in Auckland permits and notifying the police are not considered always necessary.
                       

                      Police fail to incite riot

          • seeker 15.3.1.1.2

            Are police allowed to grab and pull people dangerously around the neck or repeatedly punch them tsmithfield? -I think not. What an example to set to our young people. I saw quiet a few police behave very violently and was appalled. Our young people had done nothing violent themselves and did not retaliate as they were being hurt. I was proud of them, but not of certain members of our police force,I am sad to say.

            • tsmithfield 15.3.1.1.2.1

              From what I could see the protesters were putting up as much resistance as they could to prevent the police from what appears to be them enforcing the law. If you are going to do that, then don’t whine about the consequences. I have seen plenty of videos of police enforcing the law in a similar way in other settings.

              There are plenty of video shots on the links provided of students complying obediently who were being led calmly away by the police without any need for force at all.

              • Jackal

                Enforcing what law? You’re clutching at straws to try and defend the excessive force used by the police against peaceful protestors because you do not agree with what they were protesting about.

                These are separate issues… Some people will not agree with what the protest is about, but not like the way in which the police tried to control the situation.

                But in deluded rightwing land where mental deficiency is rife, tsmithfield doesn’t like the protest so any use of force is justified in breaking it up. This is a typical trait of the narcissist.

                • tsmithfield

                  The police may have had grounds of arrest on the basis of the protesters breaching the peace.

                  Especially, if the protesters were protesting without the required permit, were illegally blocking an access way, and were refusing and not complying with police instructions for them to move.

                  • Jackal

                    The protestors did not breach the peace by undertaking freedom of assembly in a public space.

                    The protest was an inconvenience for traffic, the same kind of inconvenience you get with road works… it did not breach commuters peace as it did not stop them from driving their vehicles. They could have found a different road to get to their destinations, as I’m sure many did.

                    The illegal blocking of an access way is a finable offense, the police cannot arrest or detain a person for doing this. It is not an unlawful assembly because the public had no reason to fear that the group intended to cause harm to other people or their property.

                    It is also not a riot (as much as English wants it to be) and the police had no right to detain participants. As far as I’m aware there was no damage, apart from the injuries the police caused to protestors when they were physically assaulted.

                    A council permit has no relevance in terms of the Crimes Act 1961 (PDF). So try again tsmithfield.

              • seeker

                Did you look at the TV3 video footage I linked to tsmithfield. Some police personnel behaved very badly and inappropriately. The students did not.They are allowed to protest peacefully and they did.

                • seeker

                  PS tsmithfield one could argue that Bill English, irresponsibly and provocatively, told youngsters to protest in the manner of the Greeks. Is this not permission/instruction enough- coming from the deputy prime minister himself.

                  • muzza

                    Seeker, its almost like BE knew what he was saying with that comment eh….

                    The real aim is to have the people fighting among themselves, but in any case the police are simply the people too, well some of them are…

                    As the levels of the ponzi roll up, there will be more protests, which will become increasingly met with systematic abuse and “authoritative response”!

                    English was effectively inciting (got it that time Bill), violence with his comments…

                    What the man wants, he gets!

        • felix 15.3.1.2

          “I can’t see anything in those video clips that would be more than the minimum force required to force non-complying individuals to comply.”

          Oh tsmithfield you snivelling, vulgar, death-sucking coward.

          I’m going to ignore for a moment that you think a council traffic bylaw trumps the Bill of Rights, but what the fuck? You think punching someone repeatedly in the head, while they’re sitting, and you’re standing over them, is the “minimum force required”?

          And this is to enforce a fucking BYLAW???

          You’re a f@cist piece of shit. There’s no return from the ugliness you’ve displayed in this thread.

    • mike e 15.4

      thrall
      strumpet
      moron
      why not drive your tractor up parliament steps to prove your point if your in the national party you won’t get arrested.

  16. Bill 16

    I know this will be lost in the plethora of comments, but…

    well, am I alone in having a chuckle at the spectacle (in the TVNZ footage) of a PC pulling at the band of another PC’s underpants while that other PC tried to pull a protester from ‘the maul’?

    Thuggish as they can be (and I’ve been on the receiving end often enough), there always seems to remain an underlying element that betrays the presence of the incompetent clown within the uniform. Which, you know, is maybe something worth focussing on as a counter to any atmosphere of fear and intimidation that they (the police) and the media will be happy to see descend on any prospective protesters… in order that said prospective protesters make ‘properly informed choices’ with regards their involvement.

  17. Busman 17

    I for one thought it was great that the students who disrupted the traffic and were quite franky a pain in the arse were dealt with as they should have been.
    Good job NZ Police , well done i for one applaud them and lets hope unruly protests are dealt with in NZ this way going forward.
    No problem with protests as long as they do not interfere with the general population.

    • millsy 17.1

      “Good job NZ Police , well done i for one applaud them and lets hope unruly protests are dealt with in NZ this way going forward.”

      Perhaps break out the Vickers old chap? Taste of hot lead will teach those upstarts their place in society.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 17.2

      No problem with the police beating you so long as they don’t beat me.

    • muzza 17.3

      Busman, Gosman…..

      Do you fuckwits have to use the same style names when youre working…

    • Renderer 17.4

      Could not agree more Busman

    • Colonial Viper 17.5

      Fuck the grandkids and their friends, they better learn that NZ belongs to the baby boomers not to them.

    • seeker 17.6

      @Busman

      “were dealt with as they should have been.”

      And were they? Again, I think not
      .
      Physical assault was used against passive, well behaved youngsters. Irritating they may have been to the likes of Busman, but this does not entitle him or anyone else to punch them or handle them roughly and dangerously around the neck and jaw..If my son had been in Queen Street (so easy as he is at uni. there at the moment) and I had seen a policeman attack him as I saw other students attacked, I would be finding someone who could make the supposed lawkeepers keep the law and hold them to account. Violence should not be tolerated.

  18. weka 18

     re the police over-reaction, I’d guess having the central police station surrounded would be part of it. Both at an institutional level (we can’t have the authority of the state challenged in this way) and at a personal level (protest getting a bit too close for comfort, psychologically).
     
     

    • Flynn 18.1

      That came right at the end of the protest, not the beginning. They surrounded the police station because the police had already arrested 43 people, and they were demanding their release.

      The people who surrounded the station were for the most part not the original protestors, because most of those were arrested – they were the people watching the police assaulting the protestors and getting upset about it.

  19. tsmithfield 19

    Shifted comment.

  20. captain hook 20

    the lesson from Greece is that when you borrow money you have to pay it back.
    Its all very easy to say that debt can be wiped with a stroke of the pen but that still doesn’t take away all the stuff and resources and man hours necessary to create goods and services for consumers whose wants can NEVER be satisfied.
    The lesson is that Greeks became gross users with no consideration of where the stuff actually came from and who was paying the bill.

    • muzza 20.1

      You’re being deliberately stupid right!

      Ill give you the benefit of the doubt, even though I am fully aware that there are still many people who truly have no idea about how the European situation , came about, and is being manipulated.

      Maybe have a look at the role of the ECB, also Bob Chapman is a good name to start with!

    • mike e 20.2

      Captain hook which Greeks the ones that pay no taxes {tycoons who own ships such as the rena which we are paying for the clean up] who have corrupted their govt or the the general population who have been working the longest hours in Europe longer than what Germans do!
      Don’t give me your BS until you’ve got your facts right.

  21. Funny and sad, fools think there is a future lol

  22. Just for fun, next Friday try and split the police up, I suggest a few ‘actions’ all over Auckland thus sending the cops out in smaller groups. You know a few bomb threats etc ) And take marbles along and chuck them on the road)
    And let us not forget these are the good times )

    • Colonial Viper 22.1

      And let us not forget these are the good times

      Indeed.

      I remember the UK police on cavalry charging student protestors last year. The dismounting of cavalry is a age old skill which might come back into fashion sooner rather than later.

  23. John72 23

    World wide, Civil Unrest in any one area follows a standard pattern. There are 4 PHASES of Civil Unrest, from
    PHASE 1, “gaining support of the local people” , through to
    PHASE 4, “The complete overthrow of the established government”.
    ( How often has this happened in Fiji ?)
    To defeat this plan of unrest the vital need is to prevent it ever getting beyond PHASE 1.
    Both New Zealand and Australia are already in PHASE 2.
    The loss of public confidence in Forces of Law and Order, something that has happened in parts of New Zealand is something used by people encouraging Civil Unrest. ( The media must accept some responsibility for this. )
    So many people are saying “It can not happen to us.” but this is just fear of the issue, or propaganda and propaganda is one of the tehniques used by people causing trouble during each PHASE of Civil Unrest.
    ” United we stand, divided we fall ” and we are becoming increasingly divided.
    There are different levels of Civil Disturbances, from Unlawful Assemblies, through to Riots, to Insurrection, if assistance is requested, it’s primary purpose is to “protect the innocent”.(Not pass judgement or ascertain who is guilty. )
    A document describing the “Suppression of Unlawful Assemblies and Riots” and ” Dispersing of a Crowd” over the last 400 years reads so much like what we are watching today.

    History is repeating itself.

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