Public health ‘patriot’ protesters march onto central Auckland streets

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Auckland city protesters
NZ public health protesters march past Auckland City Hospital and across Grafton Bridge today. Image: Rayssa Almeida/RNZ

RNZ News

Protesters blocked roads in central Auckland this afternoon for the second time in two weeks, marching past the main entrance to the city’s hospital.

The Auckland motorway onramp used by protesters two weeks ago was closed ahead of another rally at the Auckland Domain today.

Aucklanders were warned to prepare for traffic disruption in the central city.

The Brian Tamaki-led Freedom and Rights Coalition gathered at the Domain for a “Kiwi Patriots Day and March” before a crowd of about 1000 marched out onto the streets about 1.30pm.

After passing Auckland City Hospital and over the Grafton Bridge, the protesters turned up Symonds St, before heading down Khyber Pass Road past the closed on-ramp and back towards the domain, where the crowd dispersed.

Auckland City East Area Commander Inspector Jim Wilson said it was a “peaceful protest, which police monitored accordingly”.

He said while there were no arrests or incidents of note, a review phase in the coming weeks will determine if any follow-up action is required.

‘Balancing the safety … with protest’
“The police focus today remained on balancing the safety of all protesters and the public, while acknowledging the right to protest peacefully and lawfully,” he said.

“We note the activity did disrupt traffic in central Auckland where some motorway on and off-ramps were temporarily closed by Waka Kotahi to minimise further disruption.

“These have now reopened and there are no further network issues.

“We would like to thank the members of the public who deferred their travel through the affected areas today and acknowledge those that were inconvenienced.”

Counter-protesters were also in the area today.

Two weeks ago, about 1000 coalition members swarmed onto Auckland’s southern motorway, causing significant problems for traffic.

Ahead of today’s protest, Waka Kotahi closed both the Khyber Pass on/off-ramps — used by the protesters last time — and the Symonds St on/off-ramps, although these have now reopened.

Protesters were demonstrating over a range of anti-government issues, including against public health measures in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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