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.