31 Aug 2008

Protesters demand police drop raid charges

6:02 am on 31 August 2008

Demonstrators marched in central Wellington on Saturday to protest against controversial police raids last year.

One of the people arrested in connection with the raids spoke to more than a hundred protesters in the city.

The raids on 15 October focused on the Bay of Plenty settlement of Ruatoki, but people were also arrested elsewhere.

The protest began at a house which calls itself a radical social centre on Abel Smith Street, which was raided in the police action.

Demonstrators marched through the centre of the city, demanding that authorities drop charges against 20 people arrested in connection with the raids.

The crowd paused at the central police station, where they shouted "shame" and one protester lit a flare.

The march ended at the Trades Hall on Vivian Street with speeches, including one from activist Valerie Morse, who is facing charges.

She urged people to resist what she called state and police violence.

Organisers say about 100 people also attended a protest in Auckland, marching up and down Queen Street.