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Anti-mandate protesters remove tents from Dunedin's Octagon

Apr 11, 2022

All tents have been removed from Dunedin's Octagon, hours before the deadline for a group of anti-mandate protesters who have been there for two months to leave.

The tents that were in the Octagon since 11 February have now been removed. Photo: RNZ / Tim Brown

The protesters had occupied the central city site since 11 February, ostensibly in support of the bigger protest in Wellington.

The group was given an ultimatum by the city council, to pack up all structures and stop lighting fires by midday today, or face police action.

The last tent was removed shortly after 9am.

A small group continues to mill around the site, but Dunedin mayor Aaron Hawkins said they had a right to protest lawfully, just not occupy the site.

"We've got no right or no interest in stopping people lawfully assembling and protesting in the way that people are potentially more accustomed - the issue is the setting up of tents and structures and braziers and things."

Hawkins said council would be urgently assessing what, if any damage had been done to the reserve.

It was likely council would have to do repair work to get the park into a useable state again, he said.

Hawkins said what the protesters were asking for was now redundant, with most vaccine mandates already lifted, and there was no need for action to continue.

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