Prime Minister condemns protestors; “It was an attack on our frontline police, it was an attack on our parliament, it was an attack on our values, and it was wrong”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Mar 02, 2022 |

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has addressed media this afternoon, following violent scenes between police and protesters near parliament.

Police have arrested 38 people since an operation began about 6am today.

Charges include trespass, obstruction, assaults Police, wilful damage, possession of a restricted weapon and refusing to provide details.

Approximately 30 vehicles, including large vehicles such as trucks and campervans, have been towed. Police will continue to tow illegally parked vehicles.

Jacinda Ardern said “at 6am this morning the police began an operation to clear the parliament and surrounding area of an unlawful occupation that has gone on for 22 days.”

Ardern said “I know that in planning for that operation, the police expected there would be hostility, resistance, and violence. They planned for that, because that it was what they, and Wellingtonians, have experienced for several weeks now.”

“And while they planned for that, it is another thing entirely to witness it.”

“To our frontline police fire and emergency services, you have our deep admiration and our thanks. You have been calm but resolute in trying to bring this occupation to a conclusion. It has come at great risk to your personal safety. Thank you for putting others before yourselves.”

“We have all at times felt angry during this occupation. After all, when we are in the middle of a pandemic, and 400 people hospitalised and 20,000 people becoming sick in just one day, it’s almost impossible to comprehend that people would stand opposed to efforts to slow that down, and to help care for our most vulnerable.”

“One day, it will be our job to try and understand how a group of people could succumb to such wild and dangerous mis- and disinformation.  And while many of us have seen that disinformation, and dismissed it as conspiracy theory, a small portion of our society have not only believed it, they have acted on it in an extreme and violent way. That cannot stand.”

“We have a difficult journey in front of us, to address the underlying cause of what we have seen here today. But in doing so, we will never, ever excuse it.”

“It was an attack on our frontline police, it was an attack on our parliament, it was an attack on our values, and it was wrong. “

“And the reason it would have shaken so many to witness it, is because it stands so completely against not just our response to Covid but who we are as people. “

“But we will not be defined by this. This pandemic will not be defined by the hard conversations we’ve all had these past few years.”

“Our people will not be defined by a small handful of protestors. Our country will not be defined by the dismantling of an occupation.”

“In fact, when we look back at this period in our history, I hope we remember one thing: together, thousands more lives were saved over the past two years by your actions as New Zealanders, than were on the front lawn of parliament today. “

“The sacrifices we were all willing to make to look after one another – that is what will define us.”

“No protest, no fire, no placards, will ever change that. Today the police will restore order. And tomorrow, your Government will continue to work hard to get us safely back to the normality everyone deserves.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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