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Climate change protesters storm bank, business centre in day of disruption

A day of disruption saw about 30 arrests as climate change group Extinction Rebellion took to Wellington's streets to demand action on climate change.

On Monday, the arrests occurred at 5pm at the intersection of Lambton Quay, Bowen St and Whitmore St, as about 36 protesters linked arms and sat in the middle of the road.

Evening commuter traffic, including buses, ground to a halt as hundreds of protesters surrounded the group occupying the intersection, singing and pounding drums as a chilling southerly bore down. 

Occupiers did not resist arrest, instead walking peacefully amid applause and encouragement from fellow protesters, toward police trucks on the northern end of Lambton Quay.

It was the climatic end to a full day of occupation and demonstration by the group, who began the day at Midland Park, before forming a base in Stout St, outside the office of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The protest is part of a wave of international disobedience planned for more than 60 cities around the world to draw attention to climate change issues.

In the morning, protesters blocked all entrances to the MBIE office and placed a three-metre pink boat in the middle of the intersection of Stout and Ballance, and a pink car at the Lambton Quay end of Stout St.

Later in the day, some protesters glued their hands onto a glass partition at ANZ bank on Lambton Quay. 

Another group of protesters stormed the Majestic Centre on Willis St then marched back down to Lambton Quay a short time later. 

In the afternoon, protesters then made their way towards the intersection of Lambton Quay, Bowen St and Whitmore St. 

As a group of protesters sat down in the middle of the road, police presence began to increase. 

One by one, protesters were spoken to by police and taken down the road where they were questioned and handcuffed. 

After the occupying protesters were arrested, the rest of the crowd cleared the road and congregated on the footpath before heading to the Loaves and Fishes Hall for food. 

Extinction Rebellion's media spokesman Rowan Manly-Campbell saidit regretted disrupting people and "it's unfortunate that ordinary New Zealanders have to put themselves in a position where they are arrested".

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