South Auckland community leaders question police response to Harbour Bridge cycle protest

Source: 1News

Some South Auckland community leaders are questioning the official response to a weekend cycling protest on Auckland’s Harbour Bridge.

Hundreds of bikers forced their way through a police cordon to ride over the bridge yesterday.

But, with just one arrest Auckland Councillor Efeso Collins is asking whether the group was shown leniency not shown to others.

“When you're handling poorer people out south you're treated one way by the police and when you're managing people who are wealthy and in lycra you've got a completely different approach by the police," he told 1 NEWS.

“You look at Ihumātao as an example, you had police in riot formation who’d turned up there, and then you get half a dozen cops trying to hold a gate together at the harbour bridge.”

Collins also equated it to what he believes was a heavy-handed police presence during the Rugby League World Cup in 2017 when Tongan supporters celebrated in the streets.

Manurewa’s Rowandale School principal Karl Vasu agrees.

“Imagine if this was a different group who pushed their way through a police cordon.

“There are people out there with other passionate issues and sometimes they're not met with the same leniency or treated the same.”

1 NEWS asked police about allegations of bias.

In a statement they didn't address the issue, but said they are continuing inquiries and a 47-year-old man arrested yesterday has now been cautioned.