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Reclaim the Streets - Defending autonomous space in Wellington

Aotearoa IMC | 14.04.2008 01:57 | 2008 Days Of Action For Autonomous Spaces | Free Spaces | Social Struggles | World

A Reclaim the Streets party took place in Wellington as part of the decentralized days of action for squats and autonomous spaces. After a protest against the Labour Party conference, around 30 people marched through town to Upper Abel Smith Street where a group of people was already setting up for the street party.

The party was just outside 128 Abel Smith Street, a radical social centre which was raided only 6 months ago on 15th October in the so-called 'anti-terror' raids. '128' was covered with various banners and flags all over looking very pretty.

'128' was used as a chill-out space during the party - smoke and alcohol free and child friendly - while bands a DJs were playing on the car park next to the house. Initially, the plan was to take over the street. However, the police showed up very early in the game, and made it very clear that this was not going to happen. The cops drove passed the house regularly.

The party was a great success! Bands were playing open air, DJs were going hard out, and a lot of people showed up. There were even some belly dancers. Speakers talked about the Tuhoe Nation being Aotearoa's biggest autonomous space and the necessity to keep fighting and organising. At around 9pm, the fire brigade showed up to get rid of one of the fires. They made some funny comments about the fire alarm which went off earlier in the day during the Prime Minister's speech at the Labour Party conference and we had a good laugh. A few of the kids got to have a go with the hoses

Later, someone spotted Sergeant Andre (Andrzej) Kowalczyk and 10 members of the Strategic Response Group (SRG) in a nearby alley way. The SRG is the Wellington Police's most aggressive and violent unit which is used to police all major demonstrations. The SRG must have the lowest conviction rate of any Police unit in the country as they have made about 200 protest arrests over the last few years in Wellington but secured only half a dozen convictions. Kowalczyk said that he was there waiting for Noise Control to show up.

Noise Control did show up and served us with a noise complaint. The police were just standing around being obnoxious. Two hours later, Noise Control and the cops showed up again and confiscated an mixing desk, CD player and an amp.

At 6am on Sunday morning, the cops got the residents of 128 Abel Smith Street out of bed and talked to them about a white picket fence that allegedly was destroyed during the party. No one was arrested.

It was a great night out in the street and brought back memories from previous street parties on Abel Smith Street (the Circus and the Pirate Party).


Aotearoa IMC