Wellington.Scoop » “Freedom” march to Parliament causes delays and disruptions in CBD

RNZ photo

A protest organized by a group called the “Coalition for Freedom and Rights” marched from Civic Square to Parliament today, causing traffic jams in the CBD. About 3,000 were on the march, including some with banners supporting former President Trump.

Metlink said the march caused delays as buses were removed from the CBD starting at 10 a.m.

The DomPost reported that by 11:00 a.m., around 2,000 people had gathered in Civic Square to prepare for the march to Parliament. The number of protesters numbered about 3,000 as they walked down Willis Street and Lambton Quay.

Quite a large amount, nicely staged by this cool Neil Dawson sculpture. Image by Sophie Cornish on Stuff. pic.twitter.com/5AAPtY2soK

– Philip Matthews (@secondzeit) November 8, 2021

RNZ reported that 150 motorcycles drove down Willis Street behind the protesters, followed by police.

“Not once has the government spoken about health” is an extremely bold claim in a public health crisis that we hear from the Director General of Health almost every day pic.twitter.com/Wk7VkLKUMN

– Châtelaine by Cair Paravel (@SaigonSyl) November 8, 2021

The NZ Herald reported that the protesters intended to make “realistic demands” on Parliament’s steps. Wanting an end to lockdowns and public health measures, they claimed it was “time to learn to live with Covid-19”, “close test stations” and close the deadly virus like “the flu” treat.

RNZ photo

Most of the access points in Parliament were closed. The crowd filled the grounds of Parliament and speeches were made. RNZ reported that the crowd was booing and cheering. Some waved Trump flags.

Parliament is better prepared for this antivax protest than any other I’ve seen in my time here. Almost every non-main gate to the site closed. pic.twitter.com/o2F0ykUVdH

– Henry Cooke (@henrycooke) November 8, 2021

Parliament’s gate is locked as anti-vaccination and pro-Trump protesters meet on the lawn. (Also thrown in anti 3 water for safety) pic.twitter.com/3vYVmnna6C

– leah (@writeonleah) November 8, 2021

If I were the police superintendent, I just wouldn’t bring these “protesting” madmen into the heart of our sacred democracy https://t.co/AgtlyJvJlx

– Morgan Godfery (@MorganGodfery) November 8, 2021

Kia ora Coley, we are going to post a notice on social media today as it affects city travel. The police will be present to ensure public safety and comply with the law while recognizing the right to protest. Ngā mihi ^ Simone

– Wellington City Council (@WgtnCC) November 8, 2021

Tomorrow Wellington City Council will block some streets for them and New Zealand Police are planning to “be there” to monitor their “right to protest”.

During the Urewera raids, armed police officers from the special service in black riot gear boarded a school bus filled with children and arrested them.

– Coley (@ColeyTangerina) November 8, 2021

Apparently some in the “Freedom” church believe that 50,000 will protest in Wellington today. They are very optimistic about their size and support. pic.twitter.com/Bi5TsLOQvq

– Dylan Reeve (@DylanReeve) November 8, 2021

Believers – Stay away from today’s protests. There was talk of violence, parliament stormed, the prime minister arrested and worse. This is not something that we should be associated with or made possible by strengthening their numbers. We are not.

– Rev. Frank Ritchie (@frankrichie) November 8, 2021