Story: Police

Police and politics: unemployed riots, 1932 (3rd of 3)

Police and politics: unemployed riots, 1932

Mounted and foot police charge a demonstration of unemployed workers in Wellington's Cuba Street on 11 May 1932. Unemployment peaked in this period, with possibly more than 100,000 out of work. Protests by the unemployed the previous month in Dunedin and especially Auckland had turned into riots. On 10 May more than 4,000 unemployed people demonstrated outside Parliament for several hours. As they dispersed, dozens of demonstrators smashed windows in downtown Wellington until they were stopped by police after about 20 minutes. Tensions ran high the following day and when the police commander moved to close down this meeting on empty land in upper Cuba Street, the crowd was very hostile. Mounted police moved in and mayhem ensued as the crowd was dispersed in a matter of minutes. There were claims and counter-claims as to whose actions had provoked the riot, but no official investigation was ever carried out.

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Alexander Turnbull Library, New Zealand Free Lance Collection (PAColl-0785)
Reference: 1/2-101110-G

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How to cite this page:

Richard S. Hill, 'Police - Policing a stable society, 1880s to 1960s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 7 July 2022)

Story by Richard S. Hill, published 20 Jun 2012