Auckland Domain remains closed to vehicles until further notice, because a small number of anti-mandate protesters have set up tents there and stayed overnight.
Police confirmed they are aware a small group camped overnight – despite previous reassurances from protest leaders that they’d be packed up by the end of yesterday.
“Police will continue to monitor the situation today and respond to any issues if they arise,” Auckland City District Prevention Manager Inspector Jacqui Whittaker said in a statement late this morning.
“Vehicle access to the Domain remains blocked at this stage however discussions are ongoing,” Whittaker said just before midday today.
“Police respect the lawful right to protest and we will monitor the situation to ensure that there is minimal disruption to the wider public.”
There were no reported issues overnight, Whittaker said, adding that police continue to work with Auckland Council on the matter.
They moved there after thousands of people crossed the Harbour Bridge on foot yesterday, in a march organised by the Freedoms and Rights Coalition
Camping is not permitted in the Domain, which lies between the suburbs of Parnell and Grafton.
Auckland Council director of customer and community services Claudia Wyss said it was working with event organisers on a safety-first approach.
She said there was no timeline for reopening at this stage and the council apologises for any inconvenience.
A protester in a video has claimed to have mana whenua status, and said they were occupying a pa site at the domain.
Auckland Council said it was continuing to work with police and to engage constructively with the group.
Protest leaders, after talks with police and Auckland Council, had previously promised to leave by 9pm yesterday.
“Good morning – peace and love,” one of the protesters said as they gathered this morning.
The protesters had driven about six cars to the Pukekawa volcanic peak in the centre of the Domain.
Protesters said they do expect police to try to evict them. There are children on the site.
Auckland Council said it had serious concerns that yesterday’s march and gathering at Victoria Park could become a super-spreading event.
Protesters have been gathered at Parliament in Wellington for more than two weeks and sparked similar protests around the country.
Source: Read Full Article