Occupation Day 16: Fewer cars, people at Parliament occupation, police say
Police plan to continue to reduce the occupation cordon around parliament in the coming days, they said in a statement on Wednesday evening.
“Movements to reduce the cordon will continue in the coming days as our goal remains to return the city to normalcy as quickly as possible,” a statement read.
They said there had been a decrease in the number of cars and people around the occupied area on day 16 of the occupation around the Parliament.
More people moved their vehicles to Sky Stadium, but the police statement reiterated that free parking ends there on Wednesday.
* Occupation Day 16: Two protesters tested positive for Covid-19
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Police towed a vehicle that attempted to enter the Bowen St protest area near the Cenotaph on Wednesday afternoon.
Two protesters tested positive for Covid-19. A person was arrested today for disorderly behavior.
The Department of Health confirmed it had been told of at least two positive test results from people involved in the occupation around Parliament, but did not confirm whether they had been arrested by police for confidentiality reasons.
Protest leaders have also distanced themselves from foreigners or “factories”, whom they accuse of having provoked clashes with the police.
Leaders have struggled to control the situation in recent days, with protesters divided over how they should respond to police. On Tuesday, a car was driven into a row of police and three officers were hospitalized after an unidentified hot substance was sprayed in their faces.
The man arrested for driving into police appeared in Wellington District Court on Wednesday and had his name cleared.
The driver is said to have accelerated along Molesworth St behind police before braking at the last minute, risking hitting officers trying to contain a confrontation. He is due to reappear on Thursday afternoon.
One occupier, Phil Peters, claims a police officer gouged him out in the eye and punched him during one of the protest’s most turbulent moments, leaving him with a bruised arm, face and thighs. damaged ribs. He was arrested over the incident and is complaining to the Independent Police Conduct Authority.
St Mary’s College has become the second school near the occupation to close, with principal Andrew Murray saying clashes between protesters and police on Molesworth St sparked the decision. Students will return to class on March 1 at the earliest. Wellington Girls’ College made a similar announcement on Tuesday.
Union members working in Parliament have called for an end to intimidation, harassment and violence by protesters occupying Parliament grounds.
A survey this week of members of the Public Service Association and E tū who work in the parliamentary precinct showed that more than 90% of members were either “concerned” or “very concerned” about the occupation and the impact it had on their health and safety. .
Almost half of respondents said they had been verbally harassed on the way to work. Women and young workers were more likely to be harassed. Six percent of respondents had been physically harassed and more than 80 percent knew someone who had been.
Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt has confirmed he has started a conciliation process with some of the protesters in a bid to help defuse the protest in Parliament.
The meeting held yesterday afternoon included representatives from the commission, the police and groups that took part in the protest such as the Coalition for Liberties and Rights, Voices for Freedom and independents.
“It is clear that the protesters I have met have very real stories of loss and suffering. They feel broken and rejected due to the impact of Covid-19 health measures on their lives.
“In my discussions, I make it clear that I do not affirm their point of view and I condemn the outrageous conduct of certain demonstrators. I also acknowledge the detrimental impact the protest has had on many members of our community.
Police-escorted tow trucks continued to remove illegally parked cars around parliament, including one that attempted to enter the area via Bowen St.
One person was also arrested for disorderly behavior.