About 1000 Brian Tamaki-led protesters expected to converge on Beehive

With a massive clean-up after the storm, Capital braces for another protest and hopes the wage changes will help attract more overseas workers into New Zealand, the latest headline in the New Zealand Herald.Video/New Zealand Herald

Around 1,000 people are expected to march towards the hive on Tuesday as Wellington is preparing for a mass protest six months after the traumatic 23-day occupation of parliamentary grounds.

Police cited the rough estimate in briefings to senior Wellington officials who are deepening planning should the protests turn violent.

Police have threatened to arrest and prosecute those who trespassed in parliament during previous protests if they returned.

Protest leader Brian Tamaki of the Alliance for Freedom and Rights is believed to have arrived in the capital a day before his followers were expected to arrive.

According to several social media posts by the Tamaki Coalition, the protest was being billed as an opportunity for the public to sue the government for “crimes against humanity” through “people’s courts”.

Hundreds of people from across the country are expected to gather in Wellington later on Monday, ahead of Tuesday morning’s march.

Marches of the Alliance for Freedom and Rights often draw large crowds.Photo / Dean Purcell  About 1000 Brian Tamaki-led protesters expected to converge on Beehive
Marches of the Alliance for Freedom and Rights often draw large crowds.Photo / Dean Purcell

From 10am, protesters will march from Civic Square to Parliament before the 11am “People’s Court”.

The verdict – as it is called online – will be delivered at 1.30pm.

Last week, many people working and studying in the area were encouraged to work from home on Tuesday to avoid marches.

Police have released details of how they intend to manage the protest and have been “communicating with organisers” to discuss their intentions.

In a statement on Friday, Wellington Regional Commander Corrie Parnell said road closures and parking restrictions would be in place in areas near Parliament from 10pm on Sunday.

Brian Tamaki has been a regular at the Auckland protests.Photo/Brett Phoebes  About 1000 Brian Tamaki-led protesters expected to converge on Beehive
Brian Tamaki has been a regular at the Auckland protests.Photo/Brett Phoebes

Lambton Quay, lower Molesworth St and the end of Parliament at Kate Sheppard Place will be closed.

Parnell also admitted to planning a counter-protest.

“It’s important that we recognize the right of people to protest peacefully,” Parnell said

“However, the police will take action against the illegal behaviour.”

Police issued a more specific warning for those who had been denied access to parliament for their conduct during protests earlier this year.

A police spokesman said: “People who have attended protests on parliament grounds are at risk of arrest and prosecution if they have been trespassing before.”

Police will plan ahead to be ready when things get as bad as they were six months ago.Photo/George Heard  About 1000 Brian Tamaki-led protesters expected to converge on Beehive
Police will plan ahead to be ready when things get as bad as they were six months ago.Photo/George Heard

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster believes that if past coalition marches are any guide, the city will not see the violence of six months ago.

He is cautiously optimistic that protesters will march, take a stand and leave.

“That’s what we want to happen…it’s pretty much their record.”

Foster and council members have been in close contact with police in preparation for the event.

“At this stage, we’re expecting maybe 1,000, giving or taking a few hundred, but we’ll see what happens as we get closer,” Foster said.

Foster said the police advice showed that groups with similar beliefs — such as Anti-Spin Media and Freedom Voice — had a low chance of participating in the march.

Many will remember the flames that burned the parliamentary lawn.Photo/Mike Scott   About 1000 Brian Tamaki-led protesters expected to converge on Beehive
Many will remember the flames that burned the parliamentary lawn.Photo/Mike Scott

This is somewhat contrary to the evidence that several groups have expressed support for the protests online.

On the one hand, Counterspin Media has released a strategy – which appears to be followed in this week’s protests – which includes attempts to arrest politicians, members of parliament and the media, as well as references to violence when confronted with protesters “Fighting Opposing Forces”.

New Zealand conspiracy influencer Chantelle Baker has claimed on Facebook that YouTubers Avi Yemini and Rukshan Fernando, aka Real Rukshan, will join the Wellington crowd.

The couple have been known to spread misinformation and lies on Australian social media.

While he was unable to elaborate, Foster believes there will be adequate resources if “unfortunate things do happen”.

An operations center has been established that includes key decision makers who can respond should any problems arise.

Wellingtonians who witnessed the scene six months ago will recall memories of the Parliament lawn being on fire and protesters throwing paving bricks at police.

The parliamentary occupation ended in a violent standoff between protesters and police.Photo/Mark Mitchell  About 1000 Brian Tamaki-led protesters expected to converge on Beehive
The parliamentary occupation ended in a violent standoff between protesters and police.Photo/Mark Mitchell

While acknowledging the trauma, Foster said many residents were more concerned about the severe weather currently continuing to hit the area, leading to slips and property damage.

He urged anyone involved in Tuesday’s events to remain calm, no matter which side they were on.

“One of my encouragements is that whether you’re a protester or a counter-protester, no one is going to do things that irritate people.”

It is understood Brian and Hannah Tamaki flew from Auckland to Wellington on Air New Zealand on Sunday, presumably in protest.

Destiny Church's Brian Tamaki spoke with his wife Hannah at the Freedom and Rights Coalition lockdown protest in the Auckland region last year.Photo/Brett Phoebes  About 1000 Brian Tamaki-led protesters expected to converge on Beehive
Destiny Church’s Brian Tamaki spoke with his wife Hannah at the Freedom and Rights Coalition lockdown protest in the Auckland region last year.Photo/Brett Phoebes

Hannah told TVNZ’s Q&A on Sunday that, as far as she knows, she has no plans to pursue a career similar to what she saw six months ago.

However, she does not rule out — and will not take responsibility for — what could happen after their protests are over.

“Once we all walk away…whatever other people do, sorry about that, not our concern,” she said.

At a previous protest, Brian revealed he would form an umbrella party with four other smaller parties to contest next year’s election, but did not reveal who they were.

Vision New Zealand leader Hannah, who received 1 per cent support in a recent poll, said her husband would provide details on Tuesday.

“As I understand it, Brian wants to announce on the 23rd [of August] On the steps of parliament,” she told TVNZ.

House Speaker Trevor Mallard introduced restrictions in parliament on Friday to ensure “the safety of the public and the protection of property.”

• Participants must gather and disperse within the venue in an orderly manner, using sidewalks, avoiding damage to lawns and flower beds, and not interfering with vehicular traffic.

• Participants are not allowed to ascend the main steps or interfere with the use of the parliament building by those entering or exiting the parliament building in the normal course of business.

• Amplification equipment may be used; it must be kept away from the building at all times and must not be operated in a way that would disturb the occupants of the building; any sound equipment must be used for speeches only and maintained at a reasonable level.

• Participants should behave in such a way as to avoid any breach of the peace.

• Food must not be prepared or sold on council grounds, but there are no restrictions on what people may eat with them.

• No vehicles may be brought into the venue as part of a demonstration.

• Structures including tents are not permitted and will be confiscated if not dismantled as required.

• Protests and demonstrations can only take place during the day and therefore should not last overnight.

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