An Occupy Auckland protester who is a member of our Facilitation & Conflict Resolution teams, Lyn, has been arrested twice, although she hadn’t breached any Auckland Council By-Laws and therefore was not in breach of the court order given to Occupy Auckland to prevent them from breaking Auckland Council By-Law #20 Public Spaces By-Law.
The following is her testimony, in the form of a letter she has sent to the Mayor of Auckland Council, Len Brown.
“Breach of Human Rights by Council By-Law
As you are probably aware I am a supporter of the protest group known as Occupy Auckland. I have been an active protester since October last year. This has involved me travelling to Auckland City on a frequent basis – often daily. However, I have never stayed in a tent in a park. It was never my intention to set up residence anywhere other than my own home. I am a member of various working groups associated with the protest group. It is our aim to inform as many people as possible of the social and political systems at work in our society that take the resources of most of us and use them for the financial benefit of a few.
I am a property owner, ratepayer and voter in this city. I have attempted to find out what the council does with my rates – however, the tiny amount of information on the website does not give a true account of where my money goes.
Be that as it may, I do know where some of my money has been used recently. I know that the council has hired Provision Security and Red Badge Security to steal the belongings of many people who have been involved in this protest. Most of these people are already marginalised in our society. Many are homeless, unemployed, and made destitute by the very system that you are part of. I am disgusted that you would use my money to do this to these people.
You have used my money to fence public parks in Auckland to prevent people from using them. This has had the effect of cutting many people off from the community support they have developed in the last few months. This has been the first time that many of these people have known a real sense of community – something which I would have thought would have been part of your job to promote.
You have used my money to actively prevent free assembly of members of the public in public spaces. This has had the effect of muzzling our right to free speech and to protest the injustices that we seek to highlight.
You have used my money to hire a very expensive lawyer to take away our right to assemble and discuss and protest. You have usurped your power to persecute me personally for daring to voice my concerns about the system of which you are a part.
I have NEVER spent a night in a tent in Aotea Square. I have NEVER engaged in any activity that is in breach of a bylaw in Auckland City. I have been arrested for breach of the peace when I tried to prevent you from stealing the meagre possessions of protesters who have very little. I have been arrested and charged with wilful trespass for standing in a public place and bearing witness to the appalling treatment of members of the Auckland public who have every right to be in a public place to express their discontent.
There are no words for the disgust, disdain, shame and horror that I feel for the actions of you and your council. You, who have been charged with protecting the rights of the people of your city. I cannot express the anger that I hold because you want me to go to prison for standing up and speaking out in support of the many disenfranchised people of this city, this country and this world.
As a result of your foul treatment of myself and my community I withdraw my financial support of your regime of oppression. I will not fund your continued campaign against us. In small words, I refuse to continue to pay rates as you have failed to deliver your side of the social contract.”