March 02, 2022
There will be tears as children used in Parliament protest
The chair of the Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board, Matthew Tukaki, says he’s concerned about the use of and abuse of children in the anti-mandate protests at parliament.
Police in riot gear surrounded the occupation before dawn, and through the morning they have been pushing back the protesters, towing vehicles and removing tents and other structures.
More than 60 protesters have been arrested and three police injured.
Mr Tukaki says he’s concerned about the way protesters have harassed and abused students at nearby schools, and also about the significant number of tamariki at Parliament.
“Adults have a right to protest and they are all ka pai and all good. The use of children, and one of the posts I have been following is a discussion on a social media platform called Telegram, of some adults talking openly about how to use these children as shields if the police move in. I think there’s more going on than the public knows and to be honest, I think it’s right for the police to make a move on the site this morning,” he says.
Protest leaders have urged women and children not to leave the camp because they say police will not tear gas children.
Police today have used pepper spray on some protesters, but they do not use tear gas which is made from man-made rather than natural compounds.