More than 500 people protested in central Wellington today, demanding the government take a tougher stand against Israel over its attack on Gaza.
There have been numerous protests nationwide since 7 October, and the organiser of today's protest, John Minto from Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa, said he had helped arrange dozens.
Minto hoped that today's rally would show the government how many New Zealanders were concerned about the issue.
"There are no strong messages from the government condemning Israel," he said.
"People are saying that the New Zealand government has to do more, so we've come to Wellington to bring the message to the seat of power to say 'we need to see government action'."
Politicians from Labour, Greens and Te Pāti Māori spoke from Parliament's steps in support of the protesters.
Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson said the actions of Israel were "atrocious".
"We can not stand behind human rights as a country ever again unless we completely condemn what has happened, and call for a permanent ceasefire," she said.
She and other speakers criticised the government, saying it was not doing everything it could to condemn the attacks.
Prime Minister Christopher Luxon called for an "immediate humanitarian ceasefire" in Gaza on Monday.
He said he was not sure why there were no government representatives at the rally today.
"I'm not sure but I can tell you that we hear the concerns on all sides of the debate, and we know that it is also a sensitive topic, there are very strongly held views on both sides of this conversation," Luxon said.
"It's important for me, as prime minister, to make sure that we maintain social cohesion."
Scuffle breaks out
Minto said it was a peaceful protest, but a scuffle broke out towards the end after a young woman with paint on her hands pressed them against the US Embassy window.
He said it was a "simple symbolic action of the fact that the US has blood on its hands".
But he said intervention by police was met with "disagreement" from the crowd, who he said were "supporting" the woman.
"So there was a little bit of pushing and shoving until it got resolved."
It was all resolved "amicably", Minto said.
Police said staff were on hand to ensure the safety of all members of the community.
"Our role in any protest action is to uphold the law. Police recognise the right to peaceful protest as well as the public's right to go about their lawful business," Wellington District Commander Corrie Parnell said.
"During this, and other previous planned gatherings, police have taken an approach appropriate to the circumstances and staff took necessary measures to ensure safety and compliance."