Cops stop carrying batons at Parliament, concern over kids at protest

Source: 1News

Police officers who earlier on Friday were carrying batons at Parliament have removed them after it was decided the measure was not in line with the "current approach".

In an update on Friday afternoon, Wellington District Commander Superintendent Corrie Parnell said police are continuing to "explore options to resolve the disruption to local businesses and allow free and safe movement around the city".

All protesters at Parliament were trespassed on Thursday but they didn't all leave, with some camping overnight and remaining on site on Friday.

New barriers were put in place between the protesters and Parliament's forecourt on Friday and police who had earlier been carrying batons had them removed.

It comes as 122 arrests were made on Thursday, with another two overnight for "alcohol-related behaviour" among those in the protest group.

Parnell said it is important to note that police on Parliament grounds continue to take a "measured approach".

"Images and videos shared online often do not provide the full context of the protest activity and the difficult situation police staff face," he said.

Police outside Parliament carrying batons, with anti-vaccine mandate protests at a fourth day.

Parnell said police have identified a range of different causes and motivations among the protesters, making it difficult to open clear and meaningful lines of communication.

"Misinformation, particularly on social media, has been identified as an issue.

"Some factions are actively promoting false advice about people’s rights and police powers, which is misleading and factually incorrect.

"For example, the use of a particular word or phrase by an individual will not impact the arrest of anyone involved in unlawful activity."

Under the Policing Act 2008, anyone arrested and taken into Police custody is required to provide their name, age, date of birth and address, Parnell said. They must also let police take their photograph and fingerprints.

"It is an offence not to comply with these requests.

"Police are also concerned that people are encouraging children be brought to the protest site to support their efforts."

The anti-Covid-19 vaccine mandate protest outside Parliament has entered a fourth day on Friday, with police preparing for demonstrations to continue through the weekend.

On Thursday two police officers were injured during the protest and 150 extra police were brought in on top of the 900 officers in Wellington.