Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Parliament, Auckland borders to face anti-lockdown protesters on Tuesday

Police are warning people planning to join anti-lockdown protests tomorrow that they must stick to the law or face prosecution.

The Freedoms & Rights Coalition is organising a march through Wellington to Parliament on Tuesday to present their demands.

Police are also preparing for possible blockades at Auckland’s borders and say there will be a “heightened presence” tomorrow at other Auckland locations such as Government House and MPs’ electorate offices.

Wellington City Council says traffic is expected to be disrupted in the city centre tomorrow and people should expect delays after 10.30am.

The Herald understands there will be an extra police presence and heavy entry restrictions for Parliament buildings. People who work there have also been warned to stay alert and report any suspicious behaviour.

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Parliament’s Speaker Trevor Mallard was aware of the planned protest but would not comment on whether extra security measures were in place.

The protest organisers say they want New Zealand to “learn to live with the virus”. They are calling for an end to the restrictions which have so far prevented the mass illness and death seen in other countries.

They want Auckland’s borders to be opened, the whole country to move to alert level 1 and an end to “no jab, no job” vaccine mandates.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern indicated today Auckland would likely be moving to the traffic light system at the end of November, allowing much greater freedom for vaccinated people.

But the protest group also wants an end to the traffic light system, which they say discriminates against unvaccinated people.

They claim they plan to take further action later this week to gridlock cities if their demands are not met.

Another group of protesters has also discussed plans to blockade Auckland’s border checkpoints tomorrow, although it’s unclear if that protest is going ahead.

Last month an anti-vaxx group calling themselves the Sovereign Hīkoi of Truth (Shot) temporarily blocked the border at Mercer.

Police Inspector Adam Pyne confirmed police were aware of planned protest activity on Tuesday, including at the border checkpoints and other locations in Auckland including Government House and Labour MPs’ offices.

“Police are planning accordingly and we will have an increased police presence at the checkpoint sites and heightened visibility in Auckland around various locations of interest,” Pyne said.

Police recognised individuals had the lawful right to protest, Pyne said. But he reminded people they should be sticking to Auckland’s alert-level restrictions.

“As we have shown over recent weeks, police have the ability to take enforcement action against anyone found to be in breach of those restrictions and those responsible for organising such protests may be prosecuted.”

About 5000 people gathered at Auckland Domain on Saturday October 30 then proceeded to march through the streets of Newmarket brandishing freedom signs and flags and blocking traffic.

Similar protests have been staged in recent weeks, resulting in several arrests, including that of Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki and fellow church member Paul Thompson, who has confirmed he has recently tested positive for Covid-19.


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