March in support of Asian students

Sixty people marched last evening in Auckland in support of Asian international students, following a spate of violent attacks.

Concerns were raised last week that assailants saw the students as easy targets. Six young people were left bloodied, battered and terrified after the daylight assaults at Oakley Creek and Albert Park.

The student-led Reclaim Our Park rally has spurred organisers to plan an annual calendar of student events to reclaim the park as a safe place to be.

Auckland University Students' Association president Will Matthews also announced security measures -- including lighting and cameras -- to the crowd in the park this evening.

Students would be surveyed to help Auckland Council and police decide which areas were most in need of security, he said.

Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye also held a meeting yesterday with Waitemata Local Board representatives, police, Auckland Transport, council staff, the Auckland University Students' Association and the New Zealand Chinese Students Association to talk about ways to make the central city safer.

"It was agreed that a report will be commissioned by the local board, focusing on additional investment in other solutions, including cameras and lighting in Albert Park," Ms Kaye said.

"The board will work with the police, Auckland Transport and the student associations. They will then present a report to council for consideration."

University of Auckland Feminists of Colour also held a public forum on racist violence against Asian students.

Spokeswoman Rachel Cho said solutions offered at a Chinese Students' Association-hosted gathering last week were short-term and superficial. She took umbrage at a police officer describing the incidents as a commodity issue rather than an ethnicity one.

"We don't accept their explanation for these incidents. We are hosting this forum to provide a wider and deeper perspective on the roots of the problem. We want to find long-term solutions for creating safer communities.

"Auckland prides itself in being a diverse and multicultural city, but these attacks and the responses clearly show that racial tensions exist."

- NZ Herald

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