Protest day 10: Defense Force vehicles on standby
What you need to know:
- Hundreds of protesters remain on Parliament’s lawn, blocking nearby roads.
- Thursday is the 10th day of the protest. Police have signaled that vehicles blocking roads will be towed if not moved.
- Four Defense Force vehicles have arrived in Wellington. NZDF has not yet decided if it will provide support in a mass towing operation.
- A group representing protesters says it has a “very experienced mediator” who has offered to facilitate mediation with the government.
- After threats to tow away vehicles, police said they had made positive progress in talks with protest leaders.
- The Major Operations Center (MOC) at the National Police Headquarters was activated by Police Commissioner Andrew Coster on Tuesday.
- Few protesters have responded to police’s offer of free parking at Sky Stadium.
An occupation in Parliament is now entering its 10th day as police continue to seek to work with organizers to encourage protesters to clear Wellington Street.
As of Wednesday evening, no vehicles had been towed. About 450 vehicles are parked illegally.
Police have warned of a mass tow operation and have confirmed they now have the support of tow truck operators across the country to help them.
Defense Forces have yet to confirm if they will assist with the operation but have brought four vehicles to Wellington from Linton and Waiouru who remain on standby.
“They will be pre-positioned if necessary, but as noted, no decisions have been made about their use to assist with towing,” a spokesman said.
* Protest in Parliament: Four Defense Forces vehicles arrive in Wellington and remain on standby
* Crisis negotiator says police are neglecting a direct line to Parliament protesters – social media
* Towing companies say they are avoiding protests because ‘it could get nasty’
A group representing the protesters, made up of spokespeople from Convoy 2022 NZ, Freedom Alliance, New Zealand Doctors Speaking Out with Science, Outdoors & Freedom Movement, The Freedom and Rights Coalition, The Hood NZ and Voices for Freedom, she said asked the government to meet with them urgently.
“We spoke to a very experienced mediator who offered to facilitate mediation between us and the government on a volunteer basis,” the group said.