This is some footage from the student protest that was held at Auckland University just over two weeks ago in response to various education cuts the government are making. Many people were pissed at the police who were extremely harsh and violent towards our peaceful protest, but what made me really angry were the students who stood by, watched and even laughed while 43 students were arrested and taken away. Basically, at the beginning of the protest, students staged a sit in on the middle of Symonds St when police started picking off protesters. Eventually, the protest moved to the side if the street and onto the footpath, but on the other side of the street was a group - as large or possibly even larger than the group of protesters - who stood by and watched. In this video, you can hear one of them laughing and cheering the police on. I was so angry seeing those students just watching as we stood our ground and protested for an equal access to tertiary education.
Another thought I had about that protest was that even though police tried to shut our protest down within three minutes of starting, by turning up in force, using violence and intimidation and arresting those leading the protest, it had the exact opposite effect. I swear that by the time we walked down Queen St, we had at least three times the number of students who were there at the beginning. I guess the police failed in that respect. Also, the violence did not look good at all. Using violence and force on peaceful protesters has never gone well. When will police learn? When people protest, they do so for a reason - usually equality - and we don’t back down so easily, using intimidation tactics only strengthens the movement.