(UPDATED) Just chatting on the phone with a student who is currently barricaded inside the Clock Tower of Auckland University, occupying the staff rooms in solidarity with anti-austerity protesters worldwide.
Their message to the world is that New Zealand has the 7th highest university fees in the developed world, with fee increases averaging 4% per year while the funding for most courses has been raised only 0-0.5%.
With 15% of students living in poverty, Auckland University students have decided to fight back.
It is a little known fact that Auckland University students were the first occupiers in New Zealand; occupying the clock tower 2 days prior to the inception of Occupy Wall Street in New York on September 17th, 2001.
For fast updates and pictures direct from the source, follow @FightTheFeesNZ on Twitter.
Today’s action is undertaken on October 15th (NZDT) which is the one year anniversary of the establishment of major occupations throughout New Zealand. It is the second “Fight The Fees” action in a week; the first being a takeover of Princes Street on Wednesday October 10th, 2012.
After arriving at a “public meeting” to discuss the fee increases this afternoon, the students discovered all the doors were LOCKED to deny them the ability to participate in the meeting.
Subsequently, they entered and barricaded themselves into the Clock Tower staff rooms in protest.
There are currently reports that two female students have been assaulted by four campus security guards, and that the students chanted their way out of the Clock Tower and all the way to the doorstep of the Vice Chancellors Office, which was lined with police.
Solidarity to our brave students; we will continue to post updates as they come. Kia ora!!