‘Foreign influence’ involved in protest misinformation, PM says

Source: 1News

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says there is work to do in addressing the level of misinformation that has led to Wednesday's "extraordinary" Parliament protest violence.

It comes after protesters clashed with police as officers flushed out protesters from the site they have been occupying outside Parliament for 23 days.

Ardern said at a media stand up that a "small minority" made up of about 270 protesters were the cause of Wednesday's riot.

"As we go through a process of accessing what is it that has allowed the growth of misinformation in this country and how do we address that, we will be at pains to ensure that it never becomes an excuse for the violent acts that have happened."

Ardern added there was "foreign influence" involved in the misinformation.

"We will be at pains to ensure that it never becomes an excuse for the violent acts that it resulted in," she said.

Those involved in Wednesday's events will "never, ever" be excused for it, she added.

"This protest has not felt like New Zealand.

"It was an attack on our frontline police. It was an attack on our Parliament. It was an attack on our values and it was wrong."

Several officers were injured as protesters hurled bricks ripped from outside Parliament grounds.

Ardern says she was "angry and deeply saddened" by the violence, which included several fires, on the Parliament grounds.

"To see your Parliament, our Parliament desecrated in that way and a children's playground destroyed by a small group of illegal protesters made me feel angry and deeply sad.

"But as I say, it is not something that will define New Zealand's response to this pandemic."