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Police Prepared And On Alert Ahead Of Combined Protests

Police will be highly visible across Wellington city from today with extra police staff redeployed from across the country, ahead of anticipated protest activity heading to Parliament grounds tomorrow.

We know that over the past few days several groups have been moving across the country in support of a variety of protest causes, most of which are planning to end at Parliament grounds tomorrow.

Police will have a clearer picture of the numbers involved later today as protest groups move closer to Wellington.

Our planning for this has been under way for several weeks, and we are now well placed to respond to a number of, and range of, scenarios. Last year’s Parliamentary occupation provided some helpful learnings for us as an organisation.

Staff numbers have been boosted across all shifts in the district for next two days with more than 80 staff specifically trained in Public Order Policing mobilised to support Wellington district staff.

The focus for Police this week has been on talking to local residents and businesses as well as local iwi and agencies across the government sector.

Road closures are now in place around Parliament, with Molesworth Street and neighbouring streets closed, or operating with restricted access. Parliament has been deemed a no-fly zone, which also prohibits drones.

Our focus has been on ensuring buses and trains are able to operate as normal, and that disruption for local residents and businesses is minimal.

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For those coming to march and protest at Parliament, we respect people’s right to demonstrate peacefully in support of their cause, but we are prepared to take enforcement action if it stops being peaceful.

We will have a very low tolerance for any structures being set up on the grounds, and we do have the ability to mobilise additional staff quickly if required. Tow trucks will be on stand-by in the city.

There may be some incidents on which we will need follow up as enquiries later.

To that end, we are keen to have the public’s assistance – to help be our eyes and ears, particularly on Lambton Quay, during the march to Parliament. We will likely want to see any video footage of unlawful activity, and people can report this through 105. But we are also asking that people don’t intervene or compromise their own safety.

It is an important part of our democracy that we preserve people’s right to protest. In the end, our hope is that people come to our city, to have their say on Parliament grounds, and then leave peacefully.

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