Violence hits free trade talks in NZ

Violence hits free trade talks in NZ

Violence hits free trade talks in NZ

Updated 8 December 2012, 19:36 AEDT

A protest focused on Pacific trade talks turned violent in New Zealand on Saturday, with police attacked and demonstrators arrested.

A woman was accused of stamping on a constable's head when protesters tried to force their way into Auckland's SkyCity building, where the talks were taking place.

The meeting was the 15th round of talks involving 11 countries.

It is aimed at formalising a Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.

Two police officers were kicked repeatedly.

News reports said up to 300 people faced 50 police and a handful of building security staff before setting fire to cardboard boxes near the doors of the conference centre.

"Police staff moved in to prevent escalation and two officers were separated, attacked and kicked numerous times," police said in a statement.
"Fire appliances were called to the scene to help."

A protester, Jax Taylor, told Fairfax Media the demonstrators wanted to present a petition containing 750,000 signatures protesting at the secrecy of the negotiations.

But the event quickly got out of control when the head negotiator refused to meet them.

Two people were arrested, including the woman accused of stamping on the officer..