Auckland: Rowdy demo against TPP shuts down city streets

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5 Feb – The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement was signed at Sky City in Auckland this morning, amid large protests in the central city.

Detective Superintendent Richard Chambers has spoken about the large police operation in central Auckland.

He said there were no arrests made and several hundred officers were involved in the operation.

He is aware of images circulating of police being “heavy handed” (aka pulling protesters by their hair, throwing them on the ground, and beating them with batons and fists, twisting arms and choking protesters with illegal holds.) but says he is confident they operated appropriately to stop people from running onto on-ramps and putting themselves at risk.

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“There have been thousands of people in the city, many of those people were there to voice their thoughts on TPP,” he said.

“I’m very disappointed there were a group among them who chose to disrupt traffic.”

He says officers were abused, had their clothing and hats pulled, but displayed “outstanding professionalism”.

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A massive group of protesters had gathered at the intersections of Victoria West St and Hobson St, while a steady stream of protesters also made their way down Nelson Street, parallel to Hobson Street, while chanting profanities directed at police.

A large number of people from several iwi groups had gathered at Victoria Park, and later boarded buses heading for Waitangi.

“The world is watching the hikoi today, whanau,” one of them said.

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