February 16, 2022
Talks aim to ease protest tension
Deescalation rather than confrontation is the aim of police trying to move anti-mandate protesters from parliament grounds.
After more than a week there are still several hundred protesters camped in the area, and police have offered them free parking at the Sky Stadium carpark for vehicles now blocking surrounding streets.
Deputy Commissioner Wally Haumaha says while the protest is made up of diverse groups with different agendas, police have found some to negotiate with.
“We certainly don’t want people to be hurt in any process whatsoever. New Zealand is different to international jurisdictions in the way we manage our business. That may not be fast enough for some people but let’s wait and see if we can manage the movement first, starting with the vehicles,” he says.
Police has asked the Defence Force with help towing protesters’ vehicles, after towing companies expressed reluctance to be involved because of threats from protesters.