Students march on police station

Protesters surround a police car after a student was arrested during an occupation of the sixth floor of the Owen Glenn Building at the Auckland University. Photo / Dean Purcell
Protesters surround a police car after a student was arrested during an occupation of the sixth floor of the Owen Glenn Building at the Auckland University. Photo / Dean Purcell

Student protesters in Auckland have returned to the university for pizza and "a few pints" following one arrest.

About 250 University of Auckland students protested the Voluntary Student Membership Bill today by occupying the top floor of the Owen G Glenn Building on campus.

After five hours of being holed up, the group marched to the Auckland Central police station after one of the protesters, Marcus Coverdale, was arrested for trespassing.

The students attempted to stop Mr Coverdale from being taken away by surrounding the police car.

One of the protesters tried to let its tyres down.

At 7.30pm, after chanting outside Auckland Central station in front of about 25 officers who blocked entry to the station, the protesters retreated to the university for refreshments.

Unite organiser and history student Omar Hamed said the protest was "the first of many".

"We won't let this bill go through. This was only the beginning," he said.

Early this evening a statement from the Vice-Chancellor's Office said around 60 protesters had barricaded themselves inside level 6 of The University of Auckland Business School.

The statement said, of those protesters, about 20 were not students at the University.

"On three separate occasions University of Auckland Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon offered to meet with the protest leaders, on condition they then leave the building. However his offer was rejected."

The protesters were given three hours to make their views known but had put chains on doors which was "a risk to the safety of other occupants.

"At 6pm they left the building of their own accord."

The students said they occupied the top floor of the Owen G Glenn Building in opposition to three key issues: the Voluntary Student Membership (VSM) Bill, due to pass its third reading on September 28; the erosion of democracy on campus and the regular hiking of student fees.

- NZ Herald

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