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Anti-mandate protest enters fourth day at Parliament

Thursday 10 February 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in New Zealand, Regional

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Anti-mandate protest enters fourth day at Parliament
Credit: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Police are braced for more protesters to arrive as the demonstration at Parliament enters its fourth day.

Tensions rose yesterday as the protest against Covid-19 vaccine mandates continued, with police arresting 122 people who refused to leave Parliament grounds.

About a dozen police were on site this morning and a few dozen protesters were up and about on the grounds.

More barriers have been put up at the edge of the protest site on the lawn, and last night police installed floodlights on the forecourt.

They say it will take some time to remove everyone but Wellington District Commander Superintendent Corrie Parnell has promised the demonstrators will not be on the grounds for another week.

credit: RNZ

More tents are being erected on Parliament grounds this morning.
Four gazebos have also been set up on the north side of the grounds, where much of the tension arose between police and protesters yesterday.
More people are gathering on the grounds. One of the gates at Molesworth St remains open and people are also getting through over the fences.

Schools near Parliament are having to tighten security to deal with protesters.On Wednesday, a 17-year-old girl went to a local supermarket, and was egged just for wearing a mask.

Feb 10, 2022 9:32 AMRNZ Live

credit: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Feb 10, 2022 9:29 AMRNZ Live

credit: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Feb 10, 2022 9:22 AMRNZ LiveA number of convoy cars are illegally parked along Molesworth Street in the central city, causing problems for retailers trying to get goods in and out.

Wellington mayor Andy Foster says he wants the cars gone.

Feb 10, 2022 9:12 AMRNZ Live

credit: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Feb 10, 2022 9:06 AMRNZ Live

Protesters and police are gearing up for another day at Parliament.

Wellington District Commander Superintendent Corrie Parnell says 150 police have been brought in on top of the 900 hundred staff already in the district, and that number will grow in the coming days.

Feb 10, 2022 9:05 AMRNZ Live

Wellington mayor Andy Foster says he has full confidence in the police's response to the disruptive anti-vaccine protest occupying Parliament's grounds.

He says he backs the police's approach to managing the situation and a tougher crackdown could add more fuel to the fire.

Feb 10, 2022 8:53 AMRNZ Live

Protesters have also set up camp in Picton's Nelson Square.

Marlborough District Mayor John Leggett told Morning Report some of those parked up in the town couldn't get across Cook Straight due to vaccine and testing requirements.

But he says others have joined the group.

Leggett says the protesters need to move on as they are blocking the area illegally, but he says there have been talks and there is a window today for the situation to be resolved peacefully.

Feb 10, 2022 8:53 AMRNZ Live

In Wellington this morning.
In Wellington this morning. credit: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Feb 10, 2022 8:30 AMRNZ LiveWellington mayor Andy Foster says work is underway to remove a large number of cars linked to the protest.

He told Morning Report the illegally parked cars are causing a huge amount of disruption and will be removed as soon as possible.

He would not say how the cars would be removed or when, but said progress is being made.

Feb 10, 2022 8:00 AMRNZ Live

Police and protesters at Parliament grounds this morning.
Police and protesters at Parliament grounds this morning. credit: Photo: RNZ

Feb 10, 2022 7:57 AMRNZ Live

Barriers were reinforced last night.
Barriers were reinforced last night. credit: Photo: RNZ

Feb 10, 2022 7:56 AMRNZ LiveThere are now two barrier fences in place between the lawn and Parliament - the metal rail fencing from yesterday and a newly installed barricade fence.

RNZ's reporter at the scene says there appears to be no change in the number of tents on site, though a couple have been flattened.

Protesters are chatting among themselves and walking their dogs.

On Molesworth Street, which has been taken over since Tuesday, a food truck has its lights on and people appear to be preparing breakfast under a gazebo.

Some vehicles which were blocking part of Lambton Quay, across from the Supreme Court, are gone this morning.Feb 10, 2022 7:48 AMRNZ LiveMore barriers have been put up at the protest site, and last night police installed floodlights on the forecourt.

Officers were on site overnight and a few dozen of the protesters were emerging from tents where they had spent the night.

About 150 more police will be arriving in the district to bolster the 900 staff already there.

Many tents remain on Parliament grounds, and cars and motorhomes continue to block nearby streets.

More reinforcements are being brought in to join the 1000 officers already available.

A number of roads around the area remain blocked.

One arrest was made at a smaller, related protest in Christchurch yesterday.

Police said they became concerned about the behaviour of the driver of a vehicle associated with a group outside the central police station.

They said the 63-year-old woman failed to pull over, and was stopped and arrested a short time later.

She is now charged with failing to stop, dangerous driving, resisting arrest, and refusing a blood sample.

The vehicle was impounded.

No arrests were reported from another demonstration outside the Picton police station.