Police are working with the Freedom and Rights Coalition, which is planning another anti-government demonstration in Auckland this weekend but a counter-protest is also being organised.
In March this year, hundreds of protestors who were against Covid-19 protection measures were arrested and removed from Parliament grounds. The demonstrations lasted for over a month and outbreaks of hostility and resistance broke out, leaving the grounds desecrated.
Sonny Wilcox of the Freedom and Rights Coalition told Te Ao Mārama the demonstrations were not about the pandemic but the freedom and rights of all New Zealanders and the coalition was planning another rally at Parliament on August 23.
“This time we want to speak to MPs. In the February protest, no one came out to speak to us or show the hospitality of that House. That is the first point. We also want to share the concerns and worries as New Zealanders,” Wilcox says.
The group, led by Brian Tamaki of Destiny’s Church has labelled the demonstration a “Kiwi Patriots Day and March.
To date, there have been 16 prosecutions and one referral to Youth Services over the occupation at Parliament earlier this year. A counter-protest is also on the cards. Organiser Mark Graham told the media "the coalition and Brian Tamaki are not calling for freedom and rights; they want things to be done the way they want."
In a response to Graham, Wilcox says, “I think that's ignorant. We have had 150 protests the bishop has held since October until now. The goal has been the same ever since and that is the freedoms and rights of all. I don't know who Mark Graham is but I say 'good luck' to him, we're still going ahead this weekend.”
Wilcox was not aware of what had come out of discussions between the Coalition and the Police but told Te Ao Mārama that the group wanted to work with police and in a peaceful manner.