Police complicit in risking public health issues at Camp Wellington

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Press release – Anti-Mandate protesters Wellington

A clear pattern is emerging of Police manipulation, with them more focused on ‘PR wins’ in the media than actual policing. The depths they are stooping to will shock New Zealanders.

Today, Police threatened protest leaders with blocking service vehicles from emptying portaloos.

Taking a leaf out of Trevor Mallard’s widely mocked playbook, Police threatened to close the toilets to get protesters to move their cars within the agreed protest area. This was in full knowledge the action would create a public health issue.

Police know approximately 20 percent of people on site are young children and those aged 60 plus, 55 percent are women.

On Tuesday 22 February 2022, Police told media that protesters had sprayed an ‘unknown substance’ into the faces of three officers. Media bought the line, jumping to the conclusion it was acid.

Footage taken by people in the crowd reveals it was ‘friendly-fire’, with a video showing an officer indiscriminately using pepper spray that blew back on his colleagues.

Worse still, the Prime Minister capitalised further and said she is not engaging with the protesters because of their behaviour. Both Police and the Prime Minister should now apologise to the protesters for this deliberate defamation.

The area is currently the most surveilled part of New Zealand, and they would have known within an hour who sprayed whom. The Police stayed silent because the situation suited the government narrative.

Despite daily contact with Police via a dedicated communications channel, today, the Police failed to mention that they would carry out somewhat of a spectacle on Lambton Quay by sending hundreds of officers running up and down the Capital’s streets.

This was an area unconnected with the protesters, resulting in significant disruption to Wellingtonians, for a handful of additional concrete bollards.

On Tuesday 22 February, Police told media there was the potential for sexual assaults occurring on-site, without actual reports of any occurring or even alerting us. This showed they were more concerned with media headlines than public safety. The allegations were later retracted, but this was barely reported.

Requests by protesters for the Police to provide surveillance images of the offender who allegedly squirted faecal matter at the Police continue to be refused, leading protesters to be concerned he/she might still be on site and at risk of committing similar offences. The Police say their reason for not providing surveillance images of the offender is to protect the offender’s privacy.

Assertions that protesters’ actions have made harbour water unsafe for swimming were dismissed today 28 Feb, with Wellington Water confirming that harbour water quality was within normal range.

Police have claimed high-risk sex offenders are on-site. Given that these individuals are known to the Police and are permanently supervised by at least two officers, the Police are obliged to remove these offenders as they breach their release conditions.

Government PR is entirely out of touch, but the public is not fooled.

One in three New Zealanders support the protesters and see the Government for the hypocrites they are. By refusing to meet with protesters because a tiny number cause problems – well outside the perimeter of the main protest site – and by condoning Police smearing protestors’ actions daily with false accusations, Government is directly responsible for inciting anger and public resentment.

Is it time to call upon the Governor-General to intervene? This so-called PR battle is worsening by the day – not because of the protesters but because of Police. And let’s not pretend they are not doing this without instruction from the Prime Minister.

Sorry, Jacinda, New Zealanders are not that naïve.

Wake up New Zealand, and stop falling mindlessly into the PR traps this Government leads you to daily. The Prime Minister’s PR team – the largest in our political history – is understood to have 200 communications staff.

It suits Government to focus on peripheral matters to deflect from the core protest demand: Remove all mandates now.

This communication summarises the agreed position of groups representing the majority people who have travelled and stayed at Parliament over the past two weeks:

  •    Convoy 2022 NZ
  •    Freedom Alliance
  •    New Zealand Doctors Speaking Out with Science
  •    Outdoors & Freedom Movement
  •    The Freedom and Rights Coalition
  •    Voices for Freedom
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