One charged after Tauranga anti-lockdown protest
One person has been charged under the Health Act following anti-lockdown protests in Tauranga yesterday.
Four people were arrested in Tauranga yesterday after refusing to move on from a protest outside Tauranga Central Police Station.
Three of those people were issued with formal warnings but one, a 56-year-old woman, is now due in court.
“Of the four people arrested yesterday, three were issued with formal warnings,” says a police spokesperson.
“A 56-year-old woman is due to appear in the Tauranga District Court on August 23 facing one charge under the Health Act 1956.
“As this matter is now before the court we are unable to comment further.”
New Zealand Police Commissioner Andrew Coster confirmed yesterday that a group of 20 people gathered at Tauranga's police station and that four had declined to move on.
“We have a low tolerance for unlawful gatherings particularly in the context of a Delta variant outbreak,” he says.
“People can expect we will move more quickly to enforcement action in that context.”
Arrests were also made in Auckland, including those of prominent conspiracy theorists Billy TK Jr and Vinny Eastwood. A crowd in Nelson dispersed, without arrests, following intervention from police.
The small protests were taking place on the first day of New Zealand's return into Level 4 lockdown, following positive cases of the Delta variant of Covid-19 in the community.
Today, Coster has suggested further protests are a possibility across New Zealand and a similar approach to yesterday would be taken.
"You know people are entitled to express their views,” he says.
“But we really just need to knuckle down and get through this and the more we do that the shorter this lockdown is likely to be."