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Violence claims met with surprise

Mon 23 Feb 2015 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

The manager of the Auckland Pride Festival Glamstand is firmly denying allegations she assaulted protestors. "At no time did I personally struggle with any of the protesters, who were the ones being violent resisting security and police efforts to get them off the road, and I am surprised to hear of this idea," Heather Carnegie says. Protest group No Pride in Prisons has claimed “the Gay Auckland Business Association and the parade-viewing public actively participated in the violence inflicted upon the three protestors”. The protest group explains its actions here It says video footage (which can be viewed below) shows Carnegie “assaulting the protesters”, and says she also threw the phone of someone who was with the protest group. Carnegie was at the parade as the Glamstand manager, not in her capacity as Gay Auckland Business Association President. In the video below she is seen holding a protestor’s arm, with another hand on his back, steering him towards the barrier. Heather Carnegie (pictured right) says she is surprised at the suggestion her actions were violent During the response to the protest, a female protestor suffered a fractured arm in a struggle with security staff. After she was handcuffed, the phone of a person nearby is seen flying into the air (in video here), which is explained as "There was a minor incident while being pushed in the chest by a protester videoing on a phone. When trying to get them to stop, the phone went flying. This was unintentional." Carnegie asked media and others to back off, and remained with the woman as she was detained by a police officer, bending down to talk to her a number of times. In a statement, the Auckland Pride Festival team says that while last year protesters left the parade route peacefully, this year the protesters became violent. “This violence came from two of the protestors and the police themselves became involved, resulting in the handcuffing and arrest of two protesters.” It says the group broke onto the Parade route with the intention of causing disruption. “Having jumped the barriers, they were in breach of the Health Safety rules which govern the Pride Parade. The Parade Security and Marshall personnel immediately went into action to remove them from the parade route. “There was considerable danger to the protesters as the police march involved large motorcycles, dogs and horses not to mention a large band in formation. “The possibility of injury to the protestors or the marchers was therefore high and it was imperative that they be removed as quickly as possible. The only person who got hurt was one protester whose arm was twisted when she was fighting the security people and later the police themselves.” Pride co-founder Gresham Bradley says “our people were placed in a difficult and rapidly escalating situation by these protesters”. He says a number of Glamstand guests have been contacted and asked for their recollection of the incident and none can recall any violence by anyone but the protesters themselves. “Videos of the incident bear this out. The Parade Marshalls and Security and the police whose job it is to deal with situations like this did what they are trained to do when confronted. It’s sad to see these people trying to ruin our celebrations and then throwing accusations at us.” Bradley says the Parade and the Glamstand “were a great success and we are proud of all the volunteers who put countless hours into making it all happen. Incidents like this cannot be allowed to mar what is a fabulous celebration of our community". Earlier today police announced they had reviewed footage of the protest and say allegations of improper action by police are unfounded – but “enquiries into the culpability of any other persons are ongoing”. No Pride in Prisons maintains it was a peaceful protest where a Māori trans woman was “brutally treated” without intervention by the police officers present. It will lay a formal complaint with the Independent Police Conduct Authority, and is currently seeking legal counsel.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Monday, 23rd February 2015 - 3:29pm

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