Police ‘anticipate’ charges over Auckland motorway protest

By 1news.co.nz

Police “anticipate” there will be charges laid against people who took part in the protest which shut down a busy Auckland motorway on Saturday.

Traffic was halted as the protesters marched from Kyber Pass Rd to Gillies Ave. (Source: 1News)

Around 1000 people blocked State Highway 1 in both directions during the Freedom and Rights Coalition protest involving Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki.

“While the protesters were walking on the motorway our priority was to actively police their movements to ensure the safety of everyone,” Auckland Central Area Commander Graeme Anderson said in a statement on Saturday afternoon.

“Now the protest has concluded, we will review the actions of those involved with a view to prosecution for being on the motorway.”

Brian Tamaki marches on Auckland motorway in protest.
Brian Tamaki marches on Auckland motorway in protest. (Source: 1News)

Police say traffic infringements may be among the charges as they also noted motorcyclists without helmets, children riding in the back of a ute, and at least one pedestrian who put themselves at significant risk by moving into a live traffic lane.

“While the organisers put out a press release the night before, they refused to engage with Auckland Police prior to the protest to provide detail about their intended route and did not divulge this information until the protest began,” said Inspector Anderson.

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“This was extremely disappointing as it meant our staff and Waka Kotahi had to move quickly to keep all road users in the area safe.

“This was reckless behaviour on part of the organisers and participants.”

It comes as Brian Tamaki-led protesters stopped traffic on a busy Auckland motorway on Saturday.

Brian Tamaki speaks at Auckland protest.
Brian Tamaki speaks at Auckland protest. (Source: 1News)

The protest began in Auckland Domain, where the Destiny Church leader addressed the group, airing various grievances with the Government.

They then filed out of the Domain and onto the Southern Motorway from the Khyber Pass on-ramp, where they held up traffic for around an hour.

The protesters exited at the Gillies Ave off-ramp and circled back onto the motorway heading northbound, blocking traffic heading into the city, before returning to Auckland Domain.

One cyclist watching the protest said they were “mean-spirited” and “crazy” to cause such disruption.

“Why don’t they just get on with life?” she said.

Another onlooker called it “pretty stupid” adding “there are probably safer ways to protest”.

Destiny Church Auckland Domain protest.
Destiny Church Auckland Domain protest. (Source: 1News)

Around 300 protesters were also seen marching through central Wellington chanting for the Government to go.

“We want freedom because our children are suffering, our youth are suffering because of the decisions this Government has made,” one protest leader said via loudspeaker.

Another leader of the Wellington protest compared their movement to that of Indian revolutionary Mahatma Gandhi, whose peaceful protests helped India gain independence from British rule in the 1940s.

“It’s amazing what one man could do, to lead peaceful protests right throughout the country and bring about change and that’s what we’re doing here today,” he said.

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