Angry Chch business owners storm red zone cordon
Monday 21 Mar 2011 5:59 p.m.
By Hamish Clark
Christchurch business owners have stormed the cordon and burst angrily into the city's red zone in protest at, what they say, is the lack of communication from Civil Defence.
Their frustration boiled over after weeks of complaining that buildings are being demolished before property and financial records can be retrieved.
The threat of the Army didn't deter the peaceful protesters; over 100 upset business operators breached the city cordon today, soldiers standing guard were powerless to stop them.
“Please just be careful going through here, please,” one soldier said.
The break out lasted just five minutes before protester Joe Arts, a printer, is scuffled to the ground and taken away by police.
Earlier, building owners and business operators carrying placards vented their anger at Civil Defence headquarters desperate for answers.
“Come on you are a big mouth on TV get out here now, come on Hamilton,” the group chanted.
They are all upset they can't get in to their property, and that no one in authority is talking to them.
“Three hours they all tell me, sorry, it is right in the middle and you can't go in,” says Swiss Café owner Georges Guisolan.
Civil Defence is warning distressed owners not to try and sneak into the cordon and retrieve belongings.
“If police find people in their without authority especially after dark they will be taken to the police station and charged,” says Steve Brazier of CD.
Today they were lucky to get away with it with no arrests made.