Parking temporarily banned around public park as protesters start packing up

Central Christchurch residents will be temporarily banned from parking around Cranmer Square while anti-mandate protesters occupying the park continue to pack up and leave.

Cars parked on roads bordering Cranmer Sq had fliers placed on their windshields on Tuesday by the Christchurch City Council.

The fliers warn that parking around the square would not be permitted from Wednesday morning.

Parking in the prohibited areas would breach a law and bylaw, the fliers said, “and enforcement action may be taken”.

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* Wellington protesters heading to Cranmer Square, Christchurch protesters claim
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The decision to ban parking around the square has come as anti-mandate protesters enter what is expected to be the final day of the Cranmer Sq occupation.

The protesters have an agreement with police to vacate the area by Thursday morning.

Temporary no parking signs are dotted around the outside of Cranmer Square.
STACY SQUIRES/Stuff

Temporary no parking signs are dotted around the outside of Cranmer Square.

The protesters say they intend to honor the deadline to avoid a situation akin to Wellington’s recent protest, which ended with violent clashes between the protesters and police.

Numbers at Cranmer Sq have already thinned out.

A council spokeswoman said the no parking signs around Cranmer Sq have gone up for “logistical and safety reasons while the protestors vacate the area”.

She said the council expected to remove the signs on Thursday.

The spokeswoman declined to answer further questions.

A protester throwing out rubbish on Tuesday.

STACY SQUIRES/Stuff

A protester throwing out rubbish on Tuesday.

The parking ban will affect on-street parking on both the east and west side of Cranmer Sq. It applies to both sides of the road. A small part of Armagh St, at the square’s southern end, is also included in the ban.

A local resident who was parked outside Cranmer Sq on Tuesday said the ban was frustrating. He did not know where he would park his car, and said he might ring the council to ask for suggestions.

Anti-mandate the protesters have occupied Cranmer Sq since February 14, in breach of Christchurch City Council bylaws. Several “no camping” signs are dotted around the park.

Protesters continued to pack up camp on Tuesday.

Protesters are packing up and due to be completely gone from Cranmer Sq by Thursday morning.

STACY SQUIRES/Stuff

Protesters are packing up and due to be completely gone from Cranmer Sq by Thursday morning.

Most were folding up tents and carting rubbish into two skips that had been dropped off by the council.

A heap of equipment was packed onto a small tarpaulin-covered trailer, ready to be towed away. Two portaloos remained for now.

One of the protest organisers, Janelle Rudman, said she believed “everyone was on the same page” about keeping to the Thursday morning deadline.

“We have no intention of tipping things upside down, we’ve got an agreement with the police, and we’re going by that,” she said.

Janelle Rudman says the protesters are on the same page about respecting the Thursday morning deadline to leave.

STACY SQUIRES/Stuff

Janelle Rudman says the protesters are on the same page about respecting the Thursday morning deadline to leave.

People occupying the park were well aware police would remove them if they stayed past the deadline, Rudman said.

“I mean if anyone did want to do that, that’s totally up to them, we don’t tell anyone what to do.”

Rudman said although the Cranmer Sq occupation would end, their protest would continue. The “next move” was being considered carefully, she said, but she refused to elaborate.

Another protester, Daniel, said he would leave before the deadline. He said he felt okay about it, and it was the best thing to do at the moment. He wanted to avoid violence.

The Cranmer Sq occupation has frustrated residents who live nearby.

More than 80 complaints have been laid with the city council.

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