This is a public service announcement.
This Saturday 15 October, the day of the first RWC 2011 semi-final, a group of rag-tag protesters plans to Occupy Queen Street.
And guess who's right behind this; Joe Carolan, of the Socialist Workers' Union. Joe is a pal of John Minto and Matt McCarten from Unite Union, and he's probably mates with the sacked Radio NZ blog post reader, Martyn Bradbury as well. Carolan describes himself as "an Irish socialist living in Aotearoa".
Whilst we uphold the right to protest, the timing of this cheap political stunt stinks. Auckland will be gearing up for a huge evening, and Carolan and his mates want to disrupt central Auckland. Their plan is to meet at Britomart at 3pm, and march up Queen Street. Never mind the fact that tens of thousands will be heading from Britomart to Eden Park to watch the Wales versus France match (including thousands of visitors to New Zealand); rent-a-mob wants to cause chaos in the Queen City. Having marched up Queen Street, they then plan to occupy Aotea Square, and their website urges people to bring tents, sleeping bags and food for the occupation.
Reading through the list of those who plan to attend is revealing; there's Sue Bradford and her husband Bill, sacked Green Party candidate Max Coyle, celebrity protester Keisha Castle-Hughes, Campbell Larsen, the Standard commenter who recently wished that the Mad Butcher would "hurry up and die", Mana Party co-leader Annette Sykes, fellow blogger of sacked Radio NZ blog post reader Martyn Bradbury, Phoebe Fletcher, and many, many more. It's a who's who of the left-wing activist community.
We deplore the timing of this protest. RWC2011 has been an overwhelming success so far after some opening night jitters. The tournament is heading towards its climax on Sunday 23 October, when hopefully the All Blacks will get a 24-year-old monkey off their back. But in the meantime Joe Carolan and his ilk want to leverage off the RWC to advance their failed political agenda, and to gain the maximum possible coverage by causing disruption.
We call on the Auckland Council to refuse permission for this march to take place on Queen Street this Saturday, given the influx of rugby visitors to the city. We also call on the council and the police to ensure that there is no occupation of Aotea Square. Lastly, and probably as an exercise in futility, we ask Joe Carolan and his mates, and anyone planning to attend this "occupation" to consider how ill-timed this stunt is, and if they feel that they must vent their frustrations at the evil capitalists, to at least wait until RWC2011 is over.