There was standing room only when five young men appeared in the Opotiki District Court this morning on sex charges.
The five each face a charge of unlawful sexual connection involving girls aged 14 and 15.
One of the accused faces the same charge twice.
Appearing before the court registrar, the five were granted interim name suppression and remanded on bail to reappear in the Opotiki District Court again before a registrar on December 17.
Name suppression will lapse in 28 days unless an application is made to the Whakatane District Court by the week of December 21.
The offending was alleged to have happened between February and September of this year and there are five alleged victims.
Legal aid applications have been made.
The young men were supported by a large contingent of family and friends during the appearance.
A solo protester tried to get the attention of media cameras by conducting a loud protest outside the court.