An estimated crowd of up to 5000 has gathered at Auckland’s Domain for the third freedom protest there in six weeks – under the watchful eye of police.
The 90-minute protest has been noisy but free of any major incidents, with rally participants singing the national anthem and a range of speakers addressing the crowd. At 12.30pm, protesters left the Domain to march down Khyber Pass to Newmarket.
Police officers are stationed around the boundaries of the protest and there are at least six police vehicles, including three vans at the rear of Auckland Museum.
About 50 protesters arrived riding Harley-Davidsons.
Destiny Church founder Brian Tamaki does not appear to be present, after being twice arrested over the two previous protests. But his wife was.
Hannah Tamaki took to the protest stage, saying she is a mother, grandmother and great grandmother with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren with her today.
She said residents in Auckland were being held prisoner and she does not care if people are vaccinated, or not. People should have the freedom of choice.
She said she had a gutsful of manipulation and being prevented from seeing her other children and mokopuna. “I stand here today unafraid and unashamed.”
“My husband is heartbroken he can’t be here today.”
Says she had had to beg him to stay put and not even do a drive by due to the threat of arrest.
Brian Tamaki first appeared in court on October 2 after helping organise the first protest and was allowed to remain free on bail on several conditions.
He then appeared in court on Wednesday October 20 facing a charge of violating a Covid-19 lockdown order for his second lockdown protest.
But after a stern warning from the judge, he was released again on the same bail conditions he was also accused of having violated.
Auckland District Court Judge Josephine Bouchier addressed Tamaki via an audio-video feed while he sat in a holding cell. Through his lawyer, he pleaded not guilty to the new charge.
Around the same time, a crowd that included his wife Hannah Tamaki gathered outside the police station where he was being held, chanting “Free Tamaki”.
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