Leader Brian Tamaki says group not planning occupation

With the big cleanup on the horizon after the storm, Capital is bracing for another protest and hopes the wage change will help bring more overseas workers into New Zealand, the latest headline in the New Zealand Herald.Video/New Zealand Herald

Leaders of an anti-government protest planned for tomorrow in parliament said the group would not occupy the space overnight and any violence would be de-escalated.

About 1,000 people are expected to head to the parliamentary grounds tomorrow for a protest led by Brian Tamaki, founder of the Coalition for Freedom and Rights’ Destiny Church.

Roads have been closed, concrete blocks have been moved in and temporary fencing has been installed around the council as protest convoys head to the hive for tomorrow’s event.

Tamaki, who was found in a Wellington cafe this afternoon, told the Herald he did not want any violence at the demonstration and would have men as security guards.

“I have good people who do a good job of security … we don’t want that, we don’t want any violence.”

Anti-authorization protesters set up camp in parliament six months ago, bringing parts of the capital to a standstill before a 23-day demonstration ended in a violent, furious end as riot police rushed in to disperse the crowd.

On the final day of protests in early March, fire hoses were used to stop protesters from pulling up paving stones from their driveways and throwing them at police as fires blazed across the parliamentary lawn.

Tamaki said he was not involved in that protest, claiming that he was involved in 150 other protests and that “none of them were violent”.

When asked if he would “take over” parliamentary space tomorrow, Tamaki said “no way”.

“We were there for a day. The police knew that. No occupation. Any tents that came out…even my guys would tell them [to] put them away. “

Concrete blocks at the entrance to the council grounds to prevent vehicles from entering the lawn.Photo/Adam Pierce  Leader Brian Tamaki says group not planning occupation
Concrete blocks at the entrance to the council grounds to prevent vehicles from entering the lawn.Photo/Adam Pierce
Molesworth St is closed and there are barriers blocking access.Photo/Adam Pierce  Leader Brian Tamaki says group not planning occupation
Molesworth St is closed and there are barriers blocking access.Photo/Adam Pierce

The Destiny Church pastor said he thought the protests would end around 2 p.m., but said it wasn’t our responsibility if others “suddenly showed up and turned their backs on this.”

Tamaki’s wife, Hannah Tamaki, made similar remarks on Sunday’s TVNZ quiz show.

She said, as far as she knows, there are 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.

Convoy seen in Taupiri near Hamilton at 9.30am.Photo/Mike Scott  Leader Brian Tamaki says group not planning occupation
Convoy seen in Taupiri near Hamilton at 9.30am.Photo/Mike Scott

Beginning at 10am on Tuesday, protesters will march from Civic Square to Parliament before meeting at 11am at the “People’s Court” (known online as the “People’s Court”).

Police have threatened to arrest and prosecute those who were trespassed into Parliament during the last protest if they returned tomorrow.

Many people working and studying in the area were encouraged to work from home on Tuesday to avoid the march.

Ahead of tomorrow’s protests, Wellington Chamber of Commerce chief executive Simon Arcus said some businesses were upset.

At least 50 businesses in Wellington received relief payments after protests broke off in February, forcing some to close entirely.

“The last protest had a little bit of muscle memory that made people anxious.”

But overall, he said businesses believe the authorities are better prepared this time around.

Protests in February temporarily closed Victoria University of Wellington’s Pipitea campus near The Hive, while its bookstore, Vic Books, also closed its store permanently.

This time the campus will remain open, but the vehicle entrance gate to the old government building is closed.

“Staff and students have been informed of the planned protests and have the option of working or studying remotely if they wish,” a spokesman said.

Vic bookstore on campus forced to permanently close after February protests

* Additional reporting by Julia Gabel

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