Police disappointed as protest blocks busy intersection

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A protest held this morning in opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement caused traffic to divert as members of the march poured out onto the intersection on Hardy and Rutherford Streets in an effort to inconvenience those not taking part.

A police officer holds back the protest crowd while directing traffic at the corner of Hardy and Rutherford Streets this morning. PHOTO: Jacob Chandler
A police officer holds back the protest crowd while directing traffic at the corner of Hardy and Rutherford Streets this morning. PHOTO: Jacob Chandler

The protest started in 1903 square with speeches before travelling down Hardy St and through the Nelson Market. A spur-of-the-moment decision led to the blocking of the intersection for around 15 minutes with police trying to hold back the crowd keeping at least one lane open for a short time near the Nelson Cadet Unit base.

Sergeant David Lauer says, while police were made aware of the protest and had spoken to the organiser this morning confirming numbers, he was not impressed with the decision to block traffic at the busy intersection.

“It was a disappointing part of the protest,” he says. “We were assured marshals would keep protesters off the roads and we will be following up on this.”

Event organiser Graeme O’Brian says some members of the group just started standing in the middle of the road.

“If that’s what people do we just follow,” he says. “It was mainly just to inconvenience those people who are not standing with us. Either those who disagree or are so apathetic that they don’t even care.”

He estimates around 800 people turned up to the protest and says on the whole he was impressed with the support.

“This just shows how much people really care about their country and the laws of the country they don’t want to see it sold out.”

Alice conducts a mixed choir performance at the church steps in opposition to the TPPA. PHOTO: Jacob Chandler
Alice Robin conducts a mixed choir performance at the church steps in opposition to the TPPA. PHOTO: Jacob Chandler
An "anonymous" Billy McKee prepares himself for   the march in the Revolution En Zed van.
An “anonymous” Billy McKee prepares himself for the march in the Revolution En Zed van. PHOTO: Jacob Chandler
Protesters gather in 1903 Square to listen to the guest speakers at the start of the protest. PHOTO: Jacob Chandler
Protesters gather in 1903 Square to listen to the guest speakers at the start of the protest. PHOTO: Jacob Chandler
Nelson union rep Rachel Boyack at 1903 Square with Jess Reid and John Cumming. PHOTO: Jacob Chandler
Nelson union rep Rachel Boyack at 1903 Square with Jess Reid and John Cumming. PHOTO: Jacob Chandler