43 arrests- The many Headed Hydra of Auckland's Student Movement

a Another Greek lesson for Bill English- Your cops may have arrested over 40 people tonight, but we are your Greek monster.  Our protest movement is like a hydra-  for every head you cut off another five will sprout up in it's place. (Joe Carolan outside Auckland Police Station, 1 June 2012)


Powerful TVNZ footage HERE
3News footage HERE
Stuff article HERE

 Following on from our first blockade the budget protest a second blockade was planned for June the first the plan was to take the Symonds street Welesly street overpass and hold It for the afternoon. The police presence for this protest was quite surprising with a large number of police officers around Auckland university about an hour before the protest.

 As we attempted to take Symonds street the first arrests were made. We continued down to the planned site of the blockade but were not able to proceed more than about twenty meters.  What was supposed to be a peaceful occupation of a city street turned into the largest display of police brutality many of the protesters had seen.

What eventuated was a sit down protestoutside the Auckland university engineering school. The police were relentless in their enforcement of a minor traffic law dragging protesters off one by one. Known activists were among the first to by targeted in a vain attempt by the police to remove the protest leadership. About an hour into the protest a call was made to march on Queen street and bring our struggle to the people.

 However any attempt to cross a road was met by massive heavy handed police resistance. At one stage the police began to attack protesters on the footpath.

The major weakness of the police tends to be their lack of mobility every attempt made by the police to block us was countered by a sudden change in the route of our protest with quick thinking by our leadership saving us from a costly stand off at least twice during our journey. This mobile march proved successful with many observers an bystanders joining the protest properly.

 One of the most striking scenes was as the march moved towards the Queen street / Welesly street intersection a police line up formed  and a stand off was almost inevitable. Quick thinking however allowed us to cut through the Strand Arcade avoiding the police and the worst traffic. There are many lessons that can be learned from this - there is quite a clear need for protest leaders to think on their feet and think strategically as this could avoid the chance of a costly stand off.

-Bruce, Socialist Aotearoa student in Auckland Uni.


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