Police to put Parliament out of bounds for protestors

By Deborah LaHatte

Police will close roads and restrict parking around Parliament from late Sunday to forestall any early Freedom Right Coalition protestors.

The coalition, which has led protest activity in Auckland and Christchurch recently, is planning a protest in Wellington on Tuesday, August 23.

District Commander Superintendent Corrie Parnell says road closures and parking restrictions will be in place, from 10pm on Sunday evening as Police plan ahead for the protest.

He says the police are aware a counter-protest group is also planning to gather near Parliament.

A Traffic Management Plan will restrict unauthorised vehicle movement and parking around Parliament from Sunday evening until the conclusion of the protest.

Road closures will be in place at the Parliament end of Lambton Quay, lower Molesworth Street and Kate Sheppard Place.

Police are asking commuters and people who work or move through the area, to plan ahead,

“While we anticipate there will be more people in the area, we expect traffic disruption to be minimal,” Parnell says.

“We acknowledge it is important that people have the right to peaceful protest. However, Police will take action against unlawful behaviour.”

He says other similar protests, particularly in Auckland, while disruptive to traffic for a short time, did see protesters disperse at the conclusion, with the road quickly returned to normal traffic flows.

“Our expectation of these protesters is that their protest will remain lawful at all times”.