A one-person anti-lockdown protest in central Auckland has been shut down, after the police were alerted to discussions of a potential gathering on social media.
New Zealand police said officers were on Queen Street on Friday after hearing a protest was being planned, but only one person arrived with the intention of protesting, Newshub reported.
“Police have been in the area and have spoken to one person who arrived intending to attend the protest. Police spoke to the individual who was encouraged to comply with alert level four restrictions and chose to leave,” a spokesman said.
They said they are continuing to monitor the situation.
An Instagram account had called on people “who see the bigger picture” to get involved in the protest, Newshub reported, despite also saying it wasn’t involved in the demonstration and had no idea who was behind it.
The post criticised prime minister Jacinda Ardern and the government for “destroying the economy” and “destroying jobs”, despite the unemployment rate dropping to 4 percent in the June 2021 quarter and the economy weathering the pandemic better than expected.
Last week, around 100 anti-lockdown protesters gathered on Queen Street, and four people were arrested. Four people were also arrested at a protest of about 20 people in the city of Tauranga outside the local police station. Another group gathered outside a police station in the South Island city of Nelson the same day, but dispersed after officers issued 20 verbal warnings.
The country is in a nationwide lockdown as it grapples with a Delta variant outbreak. The decision to place the country into a level 4 lockdown – the highest setting – was made after one case in the community emerged last week. There are now 346 cases in the outbreak.