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Live: Protesters on the move towards Newmarket mall. No show from Brian Tamaki

3 min read

About 2000 protesters have marched through Newmarket’s shopping streets – taking over the Broadway retail strip.

The protesters, who earlier today gathered at Auckland Domain,reached Newmarket’s biggest mall 277 chanting “Jacinda must go”.

With a helicopter hovering overhead, the protest then headed to the Governor General’s Auckland home – Government House in Epsom.

Business owners and other members of the public could be seen in shop windows staring bemusedly at the thousands of people blocking the Newmarket roads.

It was the first time people had congregated to object to the vaccine mandate since Aucklanders got their freedom yesterday.

Strict lockdown preventing hospitality from opening ended yesterday after 107 days in the city of 1.7 million people.

Today’s rally was promoted online as the “Mass Exodus” and the protesters began meeting at Auckland Domain at 11am before marching through the streets of Newmarket.

Chants of “freedom” at the Domain rally got the crowd clapping this morning.

It was the sixth time protesters had gathered at the Domain since the beginning of October.

A teacher spoke over the PA about how the situation “really hit home” this week with unvaccinated people being unable to buy a coffee in a cafe and purchase other items.

Brian Tamaki’s brother then took the stage. “I love you my brother,” he said.

He saidBrian and Hannah Tamaki would not be in attendance today, but they got a round of applause.

There appears to be a smaller police presence than at previous protests.

The MC asked people to march together to Newmarket’s shopping mall 277. From there they would march to the Governor General’s house.

The crowd, which has grown to about 2000, began to move.

The protesters marched down George St along the edge of the Domain to Newmarket.

The protest was calm, with no reported violence.

Last Saturday, a smaller group of around 200 to 300 people gathered in the Domain and marched to the Mercy Hospital in Epsom.

But this group was not directly aligned with the Freedoms & Rights Coalition, which has ties to Destiny Church and has seen up to 5000 people gather at Auckland Domain.

Online promotion has indicated that the Freedoms & Rights Coalition has again organised today’s protest.

For the third time in less than two months, controversial Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki was called before a judge on November 23 regarding new allegations he violated Covid-19 lockdown orders.

However, he was allowed to remain on bail with altered bail conditions that bar him explicitly from attending protests at Auckland Domain.

Auckland District Court Judge Steve Bonnar QC, clearly showing frustration, issued the decision hours after Brian Tamaki was summoned to an Auckland police station alongside wife and church co-founder Hannah Tamaki.

“You have been skating on very thin ice today,” the judge said. “I have seriously considered whether you should be remanded in custody.”

The anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine mandate protesters have previously met in Auckland Domain on October 2, 16 and 30 and November 20 and 27.

Except for last Saturday, each time they drew between 2000 and 5000 people.

Yesterday, ​​39,553 New Zealanders were administered a Covid-19 vaccine.

Both Brian and Hannah Tamaki appeared and spoke on stage at the November 20 Domain protest to recognise the workers who had lost their jobs for refusing to be vaccinated.

The Auckland War Memorial Museum has been closed the last two Saturday’s due to the protests.

On November 13, the Freedoms & Rights Coalition orchestrated a “Great Gridlock” protest which attempted to block Auckland’s highways with a motorcade of slow-moving vehicles. Traffic was delayed on Auckland highways for a few hours as a result.

Brian Tamaki was first called to court on October 12, accused of helping to organise and promote an October 2 lockdown protest at the same location.

He was granted bail by Judge Broke Gibson, but under the conditions he not “organise or attend any protests in breach of any Covid-19 level requirement” and not “use the internet for the purpose of organising, attending or encouraging non-compliance with the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act 2020”.

However, he issued a statement just hours later promoting a follow-up protest at the same spot the next weekend. He returned to court about one week later, after attending the October 16 protest.

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