Live: Numbers set to rise on day 19 of Parliament occupation

What you need to know / Kia mōhio mai koe:

The occupation site in Parliament seemed calm on Saturday morning.

Monique Ford / Stuff

The occupation site in Parliament seemed calm on Saturday morning.

The numbers are expected to rise on day 19 of the occupation on the grounds of Parliament, as protesters dismiss reports of sickness and misery at the camp.

Thing understands that another convoy of vehicles is en route to Wellington and should arrive around 1 p.m.

A group of protesters marched to Parliament through central Wellington just after midday – one of several anti-mandate marches planned across the country.

In Auckland, the Harbor Bridge was closed to southbound traffic as protesters crossed the main transport link. The police confirmed that they did not have permission to cross the bridge.

These demonstrators took shelter in the shade as noon approached.

Michael Daly / Stuff

These demonstrators took shelter in the shade as noon approached.

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Police and cars are stationed at roadblocks that prevent vehicle access to the occupation zone.

Protesters watch the police behind the barricades on Saturday February 26, 2022.

Michael Daly / Stuff

Protesters watch the police behind the barricades on Saturday February 26, 2022.

Police have warned anyone planning to travel to Wellington to join the anti-warrant occupation over the weekend to ‘think again’.

“While the vast majority of Wellington is open for business and operating relatively normally, protest activity around the Parliament grounds is unwelcome and has an unreasonable negative impact on residents, workers and students,” the commissioner said. Deputy Richard Chambers in a statement Thursday.

Protesters wave signs atop concrete bollards that have been placed to prevent other vehicles from entering.

CHRIS SKELTON / Stuff

Protesters wave signs atop concrete bollards that have been placed to prevent other vehicles from entering.

On Friday, an officer working on the front line who cannot be named because he does not have clearance to speak to the media said Thing he was concerned about welfare and sanitation at the protest site.

“It’s sad. The majority of these people are upset and many are in need of mental health support. They are not here for the purpose of this protest, many are here because they need to feel that they are part of something,” he said.

The children are being escorted out of the protest as a police operation is underway earlier this week.

Chris Skelton / Stuff

The children are being escorted out of the protest as a police operation is underway earlier this week.

“It’s talked about a lot here, and it’s sad to see the state of these people, many are inconsistent in their ramblings. Some days it feels like you’re running a mental health facility rather than a protest.

The officer described the hygiene at the occupancy as nothing short of disgusting. He said it has become almost intolerable to be near protesters as the stench is excruciating.

“I swear these portaloos are not only dangerous to health, but they are weapons of mass destruction,” he said.

“The heat, mixed with excrement, body odor and lack of hygiene, is really sickening. I really don’t know how anyone can live there without being extremely sick. This is probably the worst protest in terms of personal hygiene I have ever felt.

Rubbish piles up on the corner of Aitken St and Molesworth St at the site of anti-mandate protests.

Ross Giblin / Stuff

Rubbish piles up on the corner of Aitken St and Molesworth St at the site of anti-mandate protests.

The officer hoped protesters would consider leaving the protest and bringing their families home for their own safety.

“The situation is not safe, there is Covid circulating, sanitary conditions are disastrous, hygiene is non-existent and the safety of children and vulnerable people is compromised,” he said.

“It’s really the kids that worry me. I shake my head when I see the kids in the middle of it. Take them home.

Makeshift day care centers and play centers have sprung up on the site of the occupation, on the grounds of Parliament.

LAWRENCE SMITH / Stuff

Makeshift day care centers and play centers have sprung up on the site of the occupation, on the grounds of Parliament.

A mother pushing her one-year-old son in a pram early Saturday morning at the occupation site disputed suggestions that the camp was unsafe for children.

The woman said she lived nearby so spent her days at the protest with her son, although she stayed last night to see what it was like.

“It’s happy. It’s certain. We have a lot of security who take care of our children. It’s clean,” she said.

The woman said she had spoken to many other mums and that their children were safe.

There were daily programs for children. The people who ran them included trained teachers and Plunket nurses.

The parents stayed with their children during the programs, the woman said. She took issue with the suggestions of parents dropping off their children at the programs and then leaving for other protest activities.

ROBERT KITCHIN/STUFF

One person has been arrested after a car drove into police and protesters during a dawn raid during the occupation of Parliament.

The protest site was designated as a place of interest by the Ministry of Health, although this was rejected by many protesters.

Some protesters believed they were falling ill due to baseless claims that “EMF machines”, “radiation machines” and “tech weapons” were being directed against the occupation.

A video posted to Facebook on Thursday as Carlene Louise claimed that some anti-warrant protesters were making tinfoil hats to protect themselves from illnesses caused by “tech weapons.”

Speaking on Saturday morning, protester Rawiri Tekowhai said he did not know anyone who had Covid at the camp. “Everyone seems to be healthy and happy,” he said.

Rawiri Tekowhai is among the protesters against the anti-mandate occupation on the grounds of Parliament.

Michael Daly / Stuff

Rawiri Tekowhai is among the protesters against the anti-mandate occupation on the grounds of Parliament.

“Last week I was here and hugged and kissed pretty much everyone. Then I went back to Rotorua and got tested, and it was negative.

Kyle Aitken, from the central North Island, traveled to the protest camp on Thursday to join his wife and four children – aged 6 to 12 – who have been at the site for the past week.

Aitken, whose wife helped in the medical tent, said he did not know anyone at the camp had Covid and was not concerned about the prospect.

“I don’t know why people would stay here if they have it,” he said.

Kyle Aitken, pictured with his 8-year-old son Meschach, traveled to the protest from the center of the North Island.

Michael Daly / Stuff

Kyle Aitken, pictured with his 8-year-old son Meschach, traveled to the protest from the center of the North Island.

He said he was opposed to vaccination mandates, although his biggest concern was how quickly the vaccine had been rolled out.

“We will have the vaccine if all goes well,” he said.

His family was staying inside the fenced area of ​​the law school, where people with children were encouraged to stay. Volunteers guarded the gates to the area at night.

He had no problem with his children being at camp.

“You have to be a parent. You have to be on the lookout they’re where they’re supposed to be,” Aitken said.

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