ZB

'I feared for my safety': Pregnant MP's harrowing ordeal with protesters

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 16 Feb 2022, 10:11am
(Photo / George Heard)
(Photo / George Heard)

'I feared for my safety': Pregnant MP's harrowing ordeal with protesters

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 16 Feb 2022, 10:11am

A pregnant Whanganui MP says she has "feared" for her safety after anti-mandate protesters threatened to lynch and kidnap her and her staff. 

Labour's Steph Lewis took to social media on Tuesday night to describe her experience with protesters. 

While she supports the right to "peacefully protest", Lewis said what she has witnessed over the past few days goes "well beyond" a peaceful protest. 

"There have been a number of protests at Parliament in my time there. Not once during previous protests have I feared for my safety or been afraid to go outside the buildings," she wrote. 

Lewis' office is on the ground floor. She said last week protesters walked about the building banging on windows to "intimidate MPs and staff". 

"They called at us 'come out, come out wherever you are or we will come in and find you'. We were threatened with being lynched, hung, or kidnapped." 

During their time on Parliament grounds, Lewis said she has seen eggs and other objects thrown at children and members of the public. 

Lewis, who is seven months' pregnant, said others passing by had been "yelled at, spat on, threatened and harassed". 

Protesters yesterday evening said they have tried to distance themselves from reported behaviour such as harassment and bullying. 

"We are a peaceful movement and do not condone or tolerate aggression or intimidation. We have a dedicated internal security team to maintain a peaceful operation. 

"We speak for the vast majority of the protesters present, but not all. Accusations have been made about threatening behaviour and we encourage the police to work with us on that to identify those involved." 

The unnamed release says the "communications" represents the views of 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. 

The group claimed it had been "actively engaging" with police, including on traffic management, being mindful of public safety and wishing to minimise disruption to the people of Wellington. 

Lewis also mentioned that when Parliament adjourned at 10pm, protesters were waiting at the exit for MPs to leave. 

"Our staff and colleagues have had to be escorted to and from the building by security. Many staff are afraid to come into work."