11 Feb 2022

Covid-19 Omicron outbreak: Anti-mandate protest's fourth day at Parliament

9:30 pm on 11 February 2022
A protester confronts the police line at the gathering outside Parliament.

A protester confronts the police line at the gathering outside Parliament. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Sprinklers have been turned on at Parliament, where a protest is in its fourth day, and Speaker Trevor Mallard says they will remain on all night.

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Protesters digging a trench. Photo: Supplied

Some people have been seen digging trenches into the grounds in a bid to re-direct water coming from the sprinklers to the nearby drains.

Protesters on a megaphone have urged them to stop damaging Parliament's grounds.

Mallard said the plan is to leave the sprinklers on all night. The ground is already boggy from the protesters.

A heavy rain warning is also in place for Wellington.

Police said in a statement this evening there had been no arrests today.

They intend maintaining a presence in Parliament grounds overnight.

Wellington District Commander Superintendent Corrie Parnell said Molesworth Street remains blocked by over 100 vehicles, including large trucks, campervans and cars.

"Police are working on options to work with tow truck companies to have the vehicles removed, however, there have been concerns from tow-truck operators, who have been threatened by protesters.

"Police sympathise with their position and we are exploring our options," Parnell said.

Police said this afternoon that misinformation and a "range of different causes and motivations" are making it difficult to resolve the situation with protesters.

"Police have identified a range of different causes and motivations among the protesters, making it difficult to open clear and meaningful lines of communication.

"Misinformation, particularly on social media, has been identified as an issue."

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.

"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."

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."

See how the day's events unfolded here:

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