New Zealand police praised how an anti-government protest at Parliament unfolded today, saying there were no arrests and no trespass orders issued.
Police estimated around 1500 people attended the Freedom and Rights Coalition protest.
Those attending the event were closely watched by a large contingent of police officers, some of whom travelled to the capital from other parts of the country.
In a statement, Wellington District Commander Superintendent Corrie Parnell said the positive outcome was the result of detailed planning by police, clear communication with the protest organisers, and the behaviour of those who attended.
“We are very pleased with how people conducted themselves.”
Protesters had left Parliament’s grounds and cordons put in place were due to be lifted at 6pm, Superintendent Parnell said.
“Police would like to thank the Wellington community for their understanding with the disruption caused.”
He said police would continue to maintain “a visible presence to reassure residents, businesses and people in the area”.
New political party
Self-styled apostle Brian Tamaki, founder of the Destiny Church and leader of the protest, announced an umbrella new political party called “Freedoms NZ”.
It is a coalition of three parties which plans to become registered.
But he said he would not be standing for Parliament in next year’s general election.
Green Party MP Teanau Tuiono said he was pleased to see hundreds of people at a counter-protest against Brian Tamaki.
Addressing a crowd of about 300, he recalled a big counter-protest against Tamaki nearly two decades ago.
“Eighteen years ago, Destiny Church held their ‘Enough is enough’ march … and we had a counter-demo protest there …because they were spreading misinformation about our Rainbow community,” he said.
Wellington has just recovered from a 23-day illegal occupation of parliament grounds almost six months ago which ended with a violent clash between protesters and police.
This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.