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Monday, December 10, 2012

Seeing red at thin blue line

The incident that ought to generate concern at the weekend's protests against the TPP was not a single incident where a couple of police officers got a sudden taste of the sort of gang thuggery they are used to dishing out - it was the people they called when they couldn't handle the jandal.
NZ Herald:
A handful of police and SkyCity security staff were overwhelmed by more than 150 protesters, forcing the on-the-ground commander to call in reinforcements from around Auckland.
"Police staff moved in to prevent escalation and two officers were separated, attacked and kicked numerous times. Fire appliances were called to the scene to help," police said in a statement.
  The cops rang the fire brigade. I hope this was just to put out the cardboard boxes out and nothing more than that.  They aren't supposed to be the police or their proxies. Putting them in harms way during a protest would be an irresponsible policy.   ----- ZB: Police Association president Greg O'Connor says protest leaders need to be taken to task. "If they were at all responsible, would have stopped the violence and certainly would not now be condoning it. Their actions really need to be looked at."
Greg O'Connor says there were initially just five officers at SkyCity who had to call for back up.


5 v 150+ Those are pretty good odds for any protester to have a go. The organisers can only do so much to restrain a demonstration. The actions that really need to be looked at is how the Auckland police could have so badly underestimated the numbers of protesters. Sure people in Auckland are generally politically apathetic, but you can't expect just 2 or 3 to turn out - any intelligence on the matter would have indicated a bit more interest than that.

A police spokesperson, Kerry Watson, says a fire was started in the middle of the street by protesters, who tried to feed the flames with cardboard boxes, and officers were attacked as they helped clear a path for the Fire Service.

Mr Minto says the protesters were preparing to leave SkyCity when the most senior police officer present intervened to stop the symbolic act of burning a number of cardboard petition boxes.

"With tensions running high after the refusal of TPP organisers to accept the 750,000 international petition against the negotiations, the police action added insult to injury," Mr Minto says.
"It was unnecessary, highly provocative and it was inevitable a scuffle would break out with several people injured."
Mr Minto says the same officer "repeated the stupidity" with the provocative arrest of a young woman in Aotea Square a short time later.

The police could not put out a fire from a few cardboard boxes themselves? They needed fire appliances? What a mess from the police perspective.

They should have let someone in to present the petition - that may have diffused things.

Meanwhile the TPP juggernaught continues:
TPP Digest (academic critiques hosted by University of Auckland)


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