Occupy Auckland protesters in court

Security staff and police removed Occupy Auckland protestors from Aotea Square late last month. Photo / Dean Purcell
Security staff and police removed Occupy Auckland protestors from Aotea Square late last month. Photo / Dean Purcell

Six Occupy Auckland protestors appeared in court today following last week's arrests during their eviction from Aotea Square.

Police descended on Aotea Square in central Auckland last week to evict the remnants of the tented community from the grassy square, where they have camped since October 15.

Twenty nine people were arrested during the eviction. Six appeared in Auckland District Court on a mixture of charges.

The six men and women were shadowed by about 15 supporters, who remained defiant within the courtroom walls.

One woman refused to remove her sunglasses when asked by court staff, saying she could not see without them.

Vanessa Withy represented the six on behalf of lawyer Ron Mansfield. Five face a charge of trespassing Aotea Square on January 26. One man faces a charge of assault on the same day.

Morgan Jane Gibbs, 18, and Alexander Graham Hardiman, 23, entered no plea and were remanded at large until February 22, to allow police time to consider diversion for the trespass charge each faces.

Aaron Chang, Ross Cooper and Patricia Claridge also face trespass charges, and each entered a not guilty plea.

Chang and Cooper were remanded until a status hearing on March 22, and Claridge was remanded until a status hearing on April 27.

Benjamin Cooney entered a not guilty plea for a charge of assaulting Cameron Pou on January 26 this year, and was remanded until a status hearing scheduled for March 27.

Meanwhile, around six Occupy Wellington protestors have stayed overnight at the campsite after they were forced to leave yesterday.

The defiant protestors slept at the site by the City to Sea bridge with their sleeping bags.

Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean says there were tense scenes about midnight when contractors turned up to erect temporary fencing around the site.

"We erected the fencing despite their objections and we will just review the situation today about whether we take action through finally removing the final people,'' he says.

Richard MacLean says their priority is beginning work on restoring the damaged grass at the site.

He says they're waiting to see what happens tonight before taking any action.

"We'll obviously just have to look at our options today anyway but given the weather's looking pretty bad, I would imagine that having to sit out in the open on that piece of ground with no shelter is probably not going to be particularly attractive,'' he says.

- APNZ

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