THE DEMONSTRATIONS against the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement were an outstanding success, with anything between 20-30,000 people attending the Auckland protest. I suspect that the Government underestimated the level of opposition to the TPPA and that it was perhaps the main reason why John Key decided not to front at Waitangi. Facing the wrath of the people, the government suddenly looks vulnerable. People power, eh? You can't beat it.
While the main demonstration marched down Queen Street, Real Choice attempted to blockade Sky City, the venue for the signing of the TPPA. It had made no secret that this was its strategy and it duly attempted to carry it out.
This resulted in several occupations of various traffic intersections and, inevitably, confrontations with the police.
Generally hostile to the anti-TPPA movement, it was predictable that the mainstream media were going to try and smear the protesters. But the best it could come up with was an incident when a number of protesters sat down on motorway, which was quickly dispersed by the police.
Perhaps the most absurd attack came from National Party cheerleader, Heather du Plessis- Allan. On Thursday night's Story she could be seen waving a piece of paper about. She informed us that she had 'got her hands' on the guidelines for protesters. Gosh. What horrors did it contain? Plans for armed insurrection? Bomb making instructions?
She read out an item that did nothing more than counsel protesters on how they could resist the police non violently. It all became clear when du Plessis-Allen declared that it proved that protesters had deliberately blocked traffic!
The only person who was possibly impressed was her co-host Duncan Garner. Just a few days earlier he had written that the anti-TPPA movement was 'a boisterous but small mob'. That was a rather large 'small mob' marching down Queen Street, Mr Garner.
From all reports I've read, Real Choice ran rings round the police. Yet, in a ludicrous attack on the protest group, Chris Trotter claimed that the police would implement 'preventative measures' against protesters. Wrote Trotter:
"Police Intelligence will have supplied the security operation’s commander with the names and photographs of Real Choice’s principal operatives and their movements will be closely monitored from now until next Thursday."
Well, either the police were grossly incompetent or Trotter was making things up again.
Despite being completely wrong (again), that didn't stop Trotter from continuing his attack on Real Choice on Radio Live during his regular Thursday afternoon chat with Rodney Hide and hosts Willie Jackson and Ali Mau. I'm sure Hide appreciated Trotter handing him some more ammunition to fire at protesters.
In the end all the scaremongering by the political establishment and its media cheerleaders about 'violence', 'riots', 'mobs' and 'things turning nasty' all came to nothing.
Its attempt to marginalise the anti-TPPA movement has failed. Completely.