Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Christchurch protest ends peacefully

Three weeks of protest action in Christchurch’s Cranmer Square has ended with protestors peacefully leaving the central city park last night.

“I am pleased the occupation of Cranmer Square has ended peacefully,’’ said Christchurch Mayor, Lianne Dalziel.

“This is the outcome we have been seeking since Council staff first began working with Police three weeks ago. It has been a difficult situation for everyone, particularly the residents who live around Cranmer Square.

“We will be reviewing our handling of the situation, in conjunction with the Police and we will involve the local residents in this process so that we can learn from it.

“The protest in Cranmer Square and in other parts of the country have highlighted some bylaw enforcement issues. Auckland has encountered the same issues as we have and I have already been in contact with Auckland Mayor Phil Goff to discuss possible next steps.’’

Canterbury District Commander, Superintendent John Price, says in situations like the Cranmer Square protest the Police role is to ensure the safety of all and uphold the law, while recognising the lawful right to protest.

“Of course, this has to be balanced against the rights of individuals to feel safe going about their daily business, without being disrupted by protest action. Our focus throughout has been on active engagement with the protesters, and de-escalation of any issues, in order that the protest could be brought to a peaceful conclusion for all parties,” he said.

“Our officers, alongside Council staff, have worked diligently to build channels of communication, to enable us to engage with the people who were occupying Cranmer Square. Officers visited the Square regularly, communicating with representatives of the group and others in attendance, to secure the willing cooperation of the group to voluntarily end the occupation.  

“I would like to acknowledge the protesters for being open to having that dialogue with us, and for their cooperation in leaving the Square yesterday evening, as they had committed to earlier this week.”

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