Tuesday evening, a couple of hours after I left, Parliament security started to pass out trespass notices. Apparently we can only protest in Parliament grounds during business hours. WTF? Needless to say, people didn't travel for 2 days to then go home, so they stayed.
The following day, there was a police presence, which, oddly, there hadn't been on Day 1. There were some attempts to move the people along, but it was still largely low key. There was a bit of a kerfuffle when Brett Power attempted to deliver papers on the Minister of Health. People said he pushed the police and was arrested. From seeing two lots of footage, I think he was pushed from behind and stumbled into police. Accident? Maybe. Word is he was released today.
There was a bit of infighting with Counterspin Media accusing the Freedom and Rights Coalition of being controlled opposition, which of course was just about the only report that made the MSM that day. It's not good for the movement to be washing our dirty linen in public, and the way things have played out, you have to wonder what's really going on.
I didn't go downtown yesterday, so no photos from me from Day 2. But here's a good blog post from our friend Gary Moller that shows the feeling down in the trenches.
A very different story. So much has happened and reports have been coming thick and fast all day. It's hard to know what is true, what is spin and what was misinterpreted. So I may have a detail or two wrong, but this is more or less how it went down.
It started fairly early in the morning, when the police locked the gates to Parliament and then attempted to remove the smallish group of people who had braved the torrential rain overnight and stayed. They were corralled together by police and people were pulled out of the crowd and arrested. As the larger crowds returned, the police pulled back.
image source: https://autoexposite.com/
This has gone on all day, with times where the police were actively and forcefully pushing into the crowd, pulling people out and arresting them, and then retreating. Around 5pm I spoke to a friend who had been there all day. She was on the front line, which was mainly composed of women and children, for about one and a half hours. Holding back the police and protecting others from arrest. When they started in with the pepper spray, she decided it was time for a toilet break, her first one all day. When she came back, the police had disappeared! It looks like they are back now, but it's all mellow again. For the moment.
Some of the stories from today, though who knows how many are true:
o Reports of 120 or more arrests
o The woman in a wheelchair who had police just take off her brake and wheel her away
o A naked young girl being dragged out of the crowd by her hair, thrown on the ground, covered with a cloth after which a policeman knelt on her head (yes, I have seen the video footage). Though you have to wonder why she was naked; some are saying she was a crisis actress
o The woman who had her sternum broken by a policewoman's elbow. When she complained they were hurting her, the PC ramped up the pressure till the sternum broke.
o A friend with the convoy reports "A 14 year old girl, assaulted by police. Her neck is cut. A man who was minding his own business, dragged out and slammed into concrete and pepper sprayed. Shattered cheek bone. Numerous others pushed to the ground, assaulted and bruised. This is police brutality."
o The city council sending out traffic wardens to clamp or ticket all the vehicles, each traffic warden needing to be protected by four police officers - really? wouldn't one have been adequate?
o After 3 days of occupation, still not a single MP has come out to speak to the people. Is that arrogance, cowardice or simply "don't give a fuck". Though one or two ex MPs have spoken out today saying maybe it's time to consider dropping the mandates. Ya think?
Since I didn't go down today either, still no new photos from me, but I think this one I found shows the level the police reached today - arresting teenagers. It also appears the cop is not on his knees but has all his body weight going through the boy's head. If so, that is truly horrific.
It's not all grim news though. A couple of hours ago I heard a report on the children, who were all playing together happily and safely in the playground area.
A friend who drove down from out of town reported that he spent a few hours on the front line. It gave him a chance to talk to some of the cops about why people were there and he felt that most of the cops were actually very decent. Although there was brutality from some of them, it appears that it was a minority.
Interesting that a few aggressive police are giving the rest a bad name, just as a few aggressive protestors (plants?) are giving freedom fighters a bad name.
How will tonight and tomorrow play out?
A storm is about to break and it's forecast to rain heavily for the next four days. This could make things more difficult overnight. The Parliament lawn floodlights have been switched on, presumably to stop people from being able to rest. But the upside is that it will make it easier for those on watch.
The police reportedly have reinforcements coming, along with paramedics. People keep saying the military are on their way, or the riot squad, but they haven't fronted up yet. But there are many more freedom fighters on the way too.
Much love to the brave men, women, boys and girls holding the line tonight.
If you want to check in to what's happening at any time, Chantelle Baker has been doing long livestreams all day. Find her here https://www.facebook.com/ChantelleBakerNZ - as I add this to the post at 9.40pm NZ time, there is a livestream showing the spirit of the protest still strong and positive despite the events of the day.
I also heard a few more reports on the naked girl. One was that she was wearing a top and g-string and the top was ripped off her. Another was that she was in her tent, and it was pulled away from her. Another was that she had been wandering around like that all day being disruptive. Who knows what the true story is?