Statement regarding Ihumātao protest
Attribute to Superintendent Jill Rogers, Counties Manukau District Commander:
Police recognises the lawful right to protest.
For the past two weeks, our purpose at Ihumātao has been to uphold the law and keep the peace.
We have had regular meetings with organisers to ensure protest action remains peaceful.
Yesterday, during a meeting with organisers, the protestors communicated their intent to move past the cordon and reoccupy the land.
In response to this, Police was required to increase our presence at the site.
Officers had to be taken off their other duties to come to the protest site.
Despite repeated warnings from police, a large group of protestors attempted to bypass the police cordon.
Police attempted to stop those trespassing, but protestors pushed their way past our staff.
The protestors eventually vacated the private land and no arrests were made.
Police reject allegations that a protestor was pushed over.
There is misinformation being circulated suggesting that Police have broken agreements with protestors.
Police cannot facilitate unlawful activity by allowing protestors who have been served an eviction notice to trespass on private land.
We would like to acknowledge the incredible professionalism our staff showed yesterday evening, and throughout the last two weeks despite at times being subjected to verbal abuse, being physically shoved and even in some cases being spat on.
Police will continue to assess the situation and our operational response, including talking to the protest organisers.
Police supports any process that will achieve a successful outcome for the parties involved.