Protesters will descend on New Zealand's parliament grounds again

Protesters will descend on New Zealand's parliament grounds again

Radical protesters will descend on New Zealand’s parliament grounds and hold a ‘people’s court’ for politicians, academics and public health experts

  • New freedom convoy protest will meet in Wellington, New Zealand, on Tuesday 
  • Protesters are demanding to hold ‘The People’s Court’ on parliament grounds
  • They are part of the right-wing political group Freedom and Rights Coalition
  • Protesters started driving from either end of the country to meet in Wellington 
  • Experts are concerned the protest will turn violent, like the Summer protests 

Wellington is gearing up for its first significant protest since a three-week occupation earlier this year which ended in fires burning on the lawns of parliament and vicious attacks on the police.

Authorities vow there will be no repeat of the extraordinary scenes from February and March, when anti-vaccine and anti-Covid mandate protesters travelled in convoy to the New Zealand capital and refused to leave. Their stay culminated in a brutal showdown.

Tuesday’s protest is likely to be dwarfed in size by the summer protest, and by a counter-demonstration being organised across the road.

A new convoy of protesters (above) is driving from either end of New Zealand to meet outside Parliament in Wellington on Tuesday

Researchers are worried the new protests will turn to the same level of violence seen during anti-Covid mandate protests in February and March (above)

Researchers still warn the protest could attract dangerous individuals – including neo-Nazis – and have a destructive effect.

‘I have no doubt that the police and (spy agency) SIS are fully aware and prepped for whatever may transpire but it’s hard to determine the nature of what will happen tomorrow,’ University of Otago’s Sanjana Hattotuwa said.

‘This is actually unprecedented in this country.’

Protesters from right-wing political group Freedom and Rights Coalition decorated their vehicles (above) for the protesters amid growing concerns of violence

On March 2 New Zealand police conducted a large-scale operation to clear protesters from the front of parliament (pictured, a protester throwing a desk in the fire started in the protester’s makeshift campsite)

On Monday, the right-wing Freedom and Rights Coalition began a new convoy from the northern and southern tips of the country which will converge in the capital on Tuesday.

After marching through the city, they are promising to hold ‘The People’s Court’ on parliament grounds, where speakers will lay out the various ‘Crimes Against Humanity’ by individuals including politicians, academics, public health experts and journalists.

‘It’s theatre that is based on a violent script,’ Dr Hattotuwa, the research lead for the The Disinformation Project, said.

Vehicles from around New Zealand are meeting in Wellington on Tuesday to hold ‘The People’s Court’ on parliament grounds

Protesters began in different cities around the country to drive together in a convoy to Wellington (pictured, the convoy’s planned route for the north island)

‘But if you study what we study, there is no permutation, variation, interpretation or version of this that is non-violent.

‘The whole business of doing this is to ‘hang’ people who are found guilty.’

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who was mercilessly targeted during the occupation, said she wanted the protest to be happen.

‘Parliament is a place where we will continue to welcome peaceful and lawful protest. But again, we’re really imploring people: peaceful and lawful,’ she said.

The Freedom and Rights Coalition is led by fundamentalist Christian and right-wing Aucklander Brian Tamaki, who rallied opposition to the government’s Covid response and aspires to win seats in parliament.

Protesters covered their cars in signs slamming Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her government

Numbers for Tuesday’s protest are expected to be significantly smaller than the (pictured, protesters meeting on Monday before the convoy)

Beyond his group, Dr Hattotuwa said all sorts of people with misgivings about the government, including ‘anti-vax and anti-authority’ individuals but also neo-Nazi Kiwis, could be attracted to the demonstrations.

‘There is very clearly neo-Nazi interest and involvement in the convoy and we expect them to be there in Wellington,’ he said.

‘Tamaki has his own political aspirations … but he doesn’t control the narrative that he is going to unleash tomorrow. And that’s really worrying.’

Researchers are concerned Tuesday’s protests will erupt into the same violence as the Summer protests (above)

On March 2 anti-Covid mandate protesters were cleared from New Zealand’s Parliament (above)

Police say they expect a lawful protest, and parliament’s speaker says he will not allow protesters to set up camp again.

February’s occupation spiralled out of control when authorities underestimated the determination of the group.

Speaker Trevor Mallard drew much scorn for his decision to play annoying songs – including Baby Shark and the Macarena – over loudspeakers in an attempt to get protesters to leave.

Instead, they were emboldened.

Protesters occupied Wellington for 23 days in February and March to protests Covid mandates but were cleared by police in a violent clash on March 2 (above)

Things came to a head on March 2, when police were attacked as they cleared the grounds, finding themselves showered with bricks and even human excrement.

Hundreds of charges have since been laid against protesters.

In preparation for this week, road blocks have been put in place around parliament to prevent cars from blocking streets, as they did in February, with additional fencing and security ordered for parliament house.

There are signs the protest may underwhelm compared to the summer occupation, when roughly 1000 people camped on lawns, setting up a village with food tents, child care, and even toilets plumbed into the street.

Fewer than 100 cars formed the convoy as it travelled with a police convoy through Auckland on Monday morning.

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