Covid-19: Thousands of people gather at Auckland Domain for ‘freedom rally’
No arrests were made, but police said they would prosecute after a rule-breaking protest involving around 2,000 people took place at Auckland Estate.
The event, organized by the Freedom and Rights Coalition, was billed as a ‘family picnic’ with music, entertainment, sizzling sausages and a food bank, with a range of speakers including doctors, teachers, farmers and business owners.
“If you are happy with the way this current government is protecting your freedoms and rights, then this protest is probably not for you,” its website said.
Brian Tamaki of Destiny Church, indicted after leading a similar rally, attended and addressed the crowd but said he was not one of the organizers.
* Covid-19: Ardern describes the anti-containment demonstration as a slap in the face
* Covid-19: Destiny Church’s Brian Tamaki Pleads Not Guilty to Lockdown Charges
* Covid-19: Second person charged over anti-lockdown protest led by Brian Tamaki
* Covid-19: Brian Tamaki of Destiny Church named as indicted man during anti-lockdown protest
Only a handful of police were present. They watched and took pictures, but took no coercive action.
Superintendent Shanan Gray said while those present generally behaved in a “calm manner” and obeyed the rules regarding mask wearing and distancing, the rally itself was a “significant violation” of alert level requirements. 3 of Covid-19.
Gray confirmed that the police “will take legal action against a number of individual organizers in the coming days.”
A Thing The photographer at the scene said organizers were more stringent to ensure attendees were socially distanced from the first October 2 protest.
This protest led Tamaki to be accused of violating the Covid-19 public health law and Alert Level 3 restrictions.
Gatherings are not permitted under Alert Level 3 restrictions, however, people can end up with another bubble up to a maximum of 10 people for an outdoor catch-up, provided you wear masks and distance yourself socially.
Paul Craig Thompson was sentenced to the same charge, carrying a maximum jail term of six months or a fine of $ 4,000.
The two pleaded not guilty in a court hearing on October 12, where Judge Brooke Gibson released the couple on bail and ordered them to comply with Covid-19 alert level requirements, which understood not to attend or organize a demonstration.
They should also not access the Internet for the purpose of organizing or inciting non-compliance.
After the court appearance, Tamaki took to social media to share his intention to attend the picnic on Saturday.
“Our Prime Minister told us it was safe to picnic, so I will be attending a picnic with my family at the Auckland Domain this same Saturday with my bubble, respecting the current Covid-19 restrictions, by wearing my mask, but also at the same time exercising my right to demonstrate peacefully.
He added was not a picnic organizer.
“I’ll leave that to the Freedoms and Rights Coalition team who are quite capable.”