National | North America

New Zealanders unite in Black Lives Matter march

Photo / Stephen Maturen, Getty Images

Today New Zealanders will join the growing list of countries around the globe marching in solidarity following the death of African-American, George Floyd in Minnesota a week ago.

A Black Lives Matter protest will take place at the Auckland CBD marching from Aotea Square to the United States Consulate at 3:30pm.

The aim of the march is to put pressure on the government from the local level up to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to, "publically condemn the acts of violence and state-sanction murder against African Americans in the United States," organisers wrote on the Facebook event page.

The march is also intended to highlight the more relevant and controversial issues here in Aotearoa around the ability for police to carry guns.

This comes off the back of the six-month Police Armed Response Teams trial which aimed to have more of an armed police presence and patrol the areas.

The trial involved new customised vehicles carrying teams of trained Armed Offenders Squad officers ready to respond to high-risk incidents. The trial caused concern because it was rolled out in highly-Māori populated communities including Counties-Manukau and Waikato.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster says the Evidence-Based Policing Centre will undertake the evaluation of the ARTs trial. This will include data collected during the trial, public perceptions data, and the views of police teams involved, as well as other relevant interested parties.

"We know that some communities have had some concerns about the ARTs and how they were being deployed. Now the trial is over, an evaluation will be done and the views of the community taken into account as part of that.”

COVID-19 restrictions and safety guidelines remain in place and protestors are being encouraged to wear masks, gloves and hand sanitizers and to adhere to the social distancing rules.