Protest closes courtroom

LATEST: The courtroom where about 80 people were this morning protesting the arrest of a Hawera woman has been cleared.

The protesters have moved outside the courtroom itself but are still refusing to leave the premises.

The court session has resumed, but the public gallery is still closed.

Kiri Campbell has been charged with five counts of using a document to gain a pecuniary advantage.

She was due to appear in the Hawera District Court this morning but her supporters turned out in force and caused the shut down of the courtroom.

A Taranaki Daily News reporter in the court said the media had been asked to leave for their own safety.

One man in the court was waving the Maori flag of the United Tribes and would not stop when asked, saying: “I do not consent to what you say, sir,” whenever approached by a court officer.

The judge refused to begin proceedings until the flag was removed.

Campbell’s plight has gained traction over the last few days on social media and has been associated with the Maori sovereignty movement.

She was an administrator of The One People Aotearoa-New Zealand Facebook page, which is linked to a “sister site” called Mortgage Terminators. – © Fairfax NZ News

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