Protestor Lewis Stanton has been arrested for the second day in a row for obstructing the Trafalgar St footpath.
He was arrested on Tuesday afternoon but returned on Wednesday morning for a few hours when police arrived again to arrest the protester from his regular spot, outside Farmers.
Lewis’ 18 month long protest has caught the attention of the region, with his insistence that the council confiscating his horse and cart after continually camping on council land is “ungrounded.”
He says he isn’t going anywhere until his horse and cart are returned unconditionally and doesn’t understand why people are so offended by his protest. “I’d sooner be out living my lifestyle, that’s the ultimate. With my horse and cart, freedom camping. Well, freedom living,” Lewis told Nelson Weekly.
Lewis was arrested for obstructing the footpath on Tuesday afternoon.
The latest action comes after Lewis was sentenced to two months in jail in June after he failed to compete any of his community service for assault, and charges of trespass and graffiti. Hoping to end his year and a half long protest, the Nelson City Council has floated the idea of returning his horse and cart with certain conditions including no open fires, no more than three nights in any one place. Lewis says it is a breach of his rights and the constitution to stop him camping on these lands.
“I wasn’t doing anything wrong at all, because the council legally has to provide such places for freedom campers and they’re failing to do so, even under their current by-law legislation,” he says.
“I was legally camping under our statute laws. It’s only the council bylaws that are breaching the statute laws. Those things are facts.”
The reaction of the region has prompted many to suggest he should move on, including business owners and many shoppers spoken to by the Weekly. He says he doesn’t understand why people are fed up with him being there.
“I still have a lot of people that come along and congratulate me and welcome me back, even some of the business people,” he says.
One of his supporters, Kyere Loren, stopped to speak with the Weekly after interviewing Lewis and said: “He simply wants his life back. It’s his home. There are a lot of very judgemental people out there who feel threatened by those who choose to live differently.”