WATCH: Police use force to remove TPP protesters from motorway

04/02/2016

Protesters clogged much of Auckland's central city today, stretching police resources and blocking motorway traffic.

Around 15,000 people marched in the CBD as the signing of the 12-country trade agreement took place at Sky City.

But a few break-away groups forced major arterial routes to be blocked for some time by sitting on the road.

They were met with by police who tried to move them out of the way of traffic. At one point, their sit-in blocked one lane of the motorway at Cook St.

Newshub reporter Lisa Owen says the woman "wouldn't get up and so they encouraged off the motorway by pulling her by her hair".


Police claim some were running into traffic without warning.

Lisa Owen says protesters were "causing maximum disruption with a minimum group of people" and exhausting police resources.

A large group of protesters moved from Aotea Square and along to Queen St where they stopped outside the Britomart Transport Centre following the signing. 

A number of prominent TPP opposition leaders spoke to the crowd earlier today, including Jane Kelsey and Hone Harawira.

Meanwhile protest organiser for Real Choice Julia Espinoza says she is "absolutely rapt" with how today's TPP march played out.

"We didn't know how many people to expect on the day, but we've had thousands…throughout the day.

"We've had heaps of people come and join us and really good public support as well."

Ms Espinoza says they set out to hold a peaceful protest and that had been blown out of proportion by the media and the police.

"No one was planning to go and riot anywhere, we had no intention of trying to get into SkyCity. We wanted to go and show that direct action does work in a peaceful manner.

"We made lots of noise and a really strong message to those leaders that we don't want this agreement."

First published on Newshub.