WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A group of 40 people dressed in Santa Claus costumes, many of them drunk, rampaged through New Zealand’s largest city, robbing stores and assaulting security guards, police said Sunday.
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The rampage, dubbed “Santarchy” by local newspapers, began early Saturday afternoon when the men, wearing ill-fitting Santa costumes, threw beer bottles and urinated on cars from an Auckland overpass, said Auckland Central Police spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty.
She said the men then rushed through a central city park, overturning garbage containers, throwing bottles at passing cars and spraying graffiti on buildings.
One man climbed the mooring line of a cruise ship before being ordered down by the captain. Other Santas, objecting when the man was arrested, attacked security staff, Hegarty said.
The remaining Santas entered a downtown convenience store and carried off beer and soft drinks.
“They came in, said ’Merry Christmas’ and then helped themselves,” store owner Changa Manakynda said.
Alex Dyer, a spokesman for the group, said Santarchy was a worldwide movement designed to protest the commercialization of Christmas.
Three people were arrested and charged with drunkenness and disorderly behavior.
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