Man and woman arrested over Auckland anti-lockdown protest

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 21 Oct 2021, 5:09PM
Thousands of protestors at the Auckland Domain on Super Saturday, October 16, 2021. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Thousands of protestors at the Auckland Domain on Super Saturday, October 16, 2021. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Man and woman arrested over Auckland anti-lockdown protest

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 21 Oct 2021, 5:09PM

A man and a woman have been arrested in relation to organising and attending two anti-lockdown protests at Auckland Domain.

Superintendent Shanan Gray said a 44-year-old woman and a 36-year-old man have been arrested on charges relating to organising and attending mass gatherings held on October 2 and 16 in breach of alert level 3 restrictions.

The pair will appear in the Auckland District Court on November 11, 2021.

Police said they are continuing inquiries and cannot rule out further enforcement action being taken.

Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki spoke at the Covid-19 lockdown and vaccination protest at Auckland Domain at the weekend, with around 2000 people gathered at the event.

Earlier this month, Tamaki, 63, was charged in relation to organising and attending the first Destiny Church-led mass anti-lockdown protest.

Bishop Brian Tamaki speaking at the lockdown and vaccination protest last Saturday. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Bishop Brian Tamaki speaking at the lockdown and vaccination protest last Saturday. Photo / Brett Phibbs

He appeared in court yesterday and was released on bail after spending several hours in a holding cell at Henderson police station in Auckland's west.

His wife Hannah has since claimed her husband was treated "like a prisoner" for six hours and forced to strip down to his underwear.

"He had his mugshot taken, he had his fingerprints taken, he had his DNA taken. He was stripped down to his undies - lucky he wears undies - and he had to sign some forms and he did see on the form that they were doing this process because they were seriously considering putting him in proper prison for six months."

Tamaki was then put in a small cell where he waited for six hours until his court appearance and at one point told her he even had to ask for a water.

As he lay in the dark cell, he pulled his mask over his eyes and imagined he was in his happy places, she said.

The second protest was held on the same day as the Government was making its vaccine push in the national Super Saturday campaign.

Professor Michael Baker was hesitant to characterise the so-called "Freedom NZ" protests, as potential superspreader events.

But the University of Otago epidemiologist did say Covid transmission was likely occurring at them, and symbolically the protests were a corrosive form of "antisocial behaviour".

Vaccine expert University of Auckland Associate Professor Helen Petousis-Harris says the likelihood people attending the Freedom NZ rallies were unvaccinated compounded the risk of Covid spread.

"You only need one person to spread it to a few others and those people go back into their communities and ongoing transmission will occur," Petousis-Harris said.