The occupy movement was supposed to be supporting the 99% – the majority they reckon weren’t the very rich.
But those in Auckland obviously don’t include the homeless among the poor they purport to want to help:
Meanwhile, several homeless people have taken issue with the Occupy protesters, for ruining what they say is their home.
Several spoken to by Radio New Zealand say they can’t stay in any of the parks around the city now.
Mount Roskill resident J. D. Simon says he has taken in 13 homeless people, many of whom are now camping on his lawn.
Oh the irony.
The faux homeless who have homes to go to have pushed out the genuine homeless people who don’t.
While on the subject of the occupation, Chris Trotter asks the questions of the day:
. . . Did anyone ever consider asking the Mayor if he and his staff could identify any wasteland in the city that could serve as a camp ground? Or if there were areas that could be turned into community gardens? Did anyone ever think of asking Aucklanders to help Occupy Auckland grow food for families who were struggling to feed their kids? . . .
Practical help, rather than aimless protest – now there’s a radical idea.
It wouldn’t have looked as exciting on TV as resisting police. But it would have made a difference and done it without inconveniencing the genuine homeless.
They came, they messed but they made no difference to whatever it was they were protesting against.
Now the people camping in public places are being moved by the council with the police’s help and they’re trying to portray it as an abuse of their right to protest.
They have a right to protest but that right is not unlimited.
It doesn’t trump the right of other people to enjoy public spaces unimpeded by tents and free of waste.
Nor does it give the campers the right to protest in a way which imposes costs on ratepayers.
Evicting the protesters is not abusing their right to protest.
It’s not making a judgement on their message or their right to deliver it.
It’s merely telling them they can’t continue to protest in a way which interferes with the right of others to use a public space, causes damage and imposes costs.
The Court has granted Auckland City Council’s application for a permanent injunction to end the occupation of Aotea Square.
Andrew Geddis explains the difference between this application and previous moves to move on the protesters:
. . . the Councils (both in Dunedin and Auckland) have done a better job of specifying exactly what their reasons are for wanting to see the Occupy encampments ended. There is less emphasis on the unsightliness or inconvenience they pose, and more on the actual physical damage to communal property and the intrusion they are having on others’ legitimate use of the public space.
Once the issue goes beyond the Councils simply seeking to enforce their rules just because they are their rules, and rather becomes Councils seeking to protect the broader common good against harm by a few (albeit well-intentioned) individuals, then you’ve got a balancing exercise that is worth the name. . .
The right to protest isn’t unlimited and in this case has come up against the principle that it’s wrong when it imposes costs on, or restricts the freedom of, other people or organisations.