Police say misinformation and a “range of different causes and motivations” are making it difficult to resolve the situation with protesters at New Zealand’s Parliament.
In a statement this afternoon, Wellington District Commander Superintendent Corrie Parnell said police were continuing to monitor the protest activity at Parliament grounds as new community cases of covid-19 in the current omicron outbreak reached a record 446.
“Police have identified a range of different causes and motivations among the protesters, making it difficult to open clear and meaningful lines of communication.
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“Misinformation, particularly on social media, has been identified as an issue.”
Superintendent Parnell said some of the protesters were “actively promoting false advice” about people’s rights and the powers that police have.
“For example, the use of a particular word or phrase by an individual will not impact the arrest of anyone involved in unlawful activity,” he said.
“Under the Policing Act 2008, anyone arrested and taken into police custody is required to provide their name, age, date of birth and address. They must also let police take their photograph and fingerprints.
“It is an offence not to comply with these requests.”
Superintendent Parnell did note that several officers were seen carrying batons earlier today, but that was not in line with the current approach and they have now been removed.
“Police continue to explore options to resolve the disruption to local businesses and allow free and safe movement around the city.”
RNZ Checkpoint reports
Police detail response to the protest outside Parliament. Video: RNZ News
10 million covid-19 vaccinations in NZ
The government is celebrating a milestone of 10 million covid-19 vaccines administered.
In a statement this afternoon, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the uptake of vaccines had been helped by a surge in boosters, and a healthy uptake of paediatric doses in 5- to 11-year-olds.
He said the 10 millionth vaccine had been reached about 2pm today.
“It’s the people of New Zealand who have embraced the science and put their trust in the health system who deserve the biggest accolade. They should take a bow, and then take a breath and continue to encourage others to get vaccinated,” he said.
“A strong booster uptake in all our communities is our best defence against the omicron variant. Being fully vaccinated is great, being boosted is even better.”
The record 446 new cases of covid-19 recorded in the community today followed another record of 306 the previous day.
This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.