27 Feb 2022

Pride march organiser frustrated by anti-mandate protest

10:26 am on 27 February 2022

The organiser of Auckland's pride march says yesterday's protest on the harbour bridge took place on the same day his event was supposed to happen - and was deeply frustrating.

Anti-mandate protesters in Auckland.

Anti-mandate protesters walked across the Auckland harbour bridge on the same day the Auckland pride march would have gone ahead - had it not been cancelled. Photo: RNZ

Thousands of anti-mandate protesters aligned to Destiny Church's Freedoms and Rights Coalition walked across the bridge yesterday - blocking southbound lanes for half an hour.

Auckland Pride Festival executive director Max Tweedie said the decision was made in January to cancel the pride march because of the Covid-19 risk.

"We take our commitment to our community seriously, and not just to our Rainbow communities but the wider community.

"And obviously what we saw on the harbour bridge was a flagrant disregard for the restrictions that are put in place to keep people safe."

Tweedie said it was galling the protesters were able to cross the bridge with no repercussions from police.

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Director of Auckland Pride Max Tweedie Photo: Becki Moss

He said his organisation spends hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on permits and traffic management.

"It it frustrating ... that the police will then treat that event that has just rocked up that's anti-science and that's threatening the health and safety Auckland - that they are treated kind of similarly."

He said it is also a kick in the guts that Destiny Church's leader Brian Tamaki has organised marches for homophobia and against the Rainbow community in the past.

Tweedie said it was hypocritical the group were marching for freedom when they did not support the LGBTQI community's right to live free from discrimination and abuse.

He said his community was no stranger to epidemics and having to make changes to lives in order to keep each other safe over decades - because of HIV.

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