Police presence high at Auckland Trans-Pacific Partnership protest
Saturday 8 Dec 2012 4:45 p.m.
By 3 News online staff and Susie Nordqvist
Hundreds of angry protesters have marched down Auckland's Queen's St to rally against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
Police presence was high as the protesters set fire to petition boxes and banged up against the SkyCity doors, where the agreement's meetings were being held. Fires were extinguished by fire officers.
Police made two arrests at the protest and clashed with demonstrators trying to storm the SkyCity doors. Police say two officers were separated, attacked and kicked numerous times. A woman who stomped on a constable’s head was arrested.
New Zealand is hosting the latest round of talks at the Sky City Convention Centre.
The protesters claim the deal threatens democracy and undermines workers' rights.
They're delivering a petition to conference delegates, signed by 750,000 people worldwide.
A New Zealand negotiator collected the petition, but did not speak to the protesters.
Auckland University lecturer Jane Kelsey urged the crowd to stand firm at the demonstration.
“We say to our prime minister, whose theories of democracy are that you should ignore the people when they are telling you that they don’t want what you are doing in secret in their names, we say, shame, shame, shame.”
Protestors have been stationed outside SkyCity for several days, but this afternoon moved to Aotea Square, where they again confronted police.
Thirty police were on the scene. Ambulance staff are treating two people for minor injuries.
Police had to bolster their numbers to control the crowd. Police say they are disappointed by the violent behaviour, which drew resources from other areas of Auckland, but note there were many protestors who were genuine in their approach.