Black Lives Matter: Auckland protesters gather for march on Queen St - Sunday, June 14

Demonstrators have gathered in Auckland's CBD to protest in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, a global campaign that has gained significant traction since the alleged murder of African-American man George Floyd by a white police officer on May 25.

The movement campaigns for change to the systemic racial inequality ingrained in America's justice and law enforcement systems, calls that are being echoed around the world.

It's believed that thousands have attended the march towards Auckland's US Consulate General on Sunday afternoon. Queen St has been closed to make way for the demonstration, which kicked off at 1pm.

It's the second Black Lives Matter protest to be held in New Zealand's biggest city, the first taking place on June 1.

The livestream and live updates have now finished.

2:59pm - Demonstrators are still standing before the US consulate with signs and placards, as music including rapper Kendrick Lamar's 'Alright' and Rage Against the Machine's 'Killing in the Name' plays in the background.

The march, which began at Auckland's Aotea Square, has now finished. 

2:52pm - Protesters have chanted "shame" outside the office of the US Consulate General on Auckland's Customs Street East.

"Hey, hey USA, how many brothers have we killed today? Hey, hey USA, how many sisters have we killed today?"

2:49pm - A series of call-and-response chants are now under way: "What do we want? Jusice. When do we want it now? Now"; "No justice. No peace. No racist. Police." 

2:47pm - Protesters have been asked to take a knee, raise their right fist and honour a minute of silence for George Floyd.

2:40pm - Protesters have reached the US Consulate General in Auckland. Michael Jackson's 1995 hit 'They Don't Care About Us' has played in the background. 

Demonstrators are now gathered outside the embassy on Customs Street East, chanting "Black Lives Matter" and "ain't no power like the power of the people because the power of the people don't stop". 

2:20pm - Protesters have started to march down Auckland's Queen St towards the US Consulate General, alternating between different chants: "Take it to the streets, defund the police", "No justice, no peace", "This is what democracy looks like" and "Black lives matter".

Signs being held by demonstrators are emblazoned with phrases including "end systemic racism" and "I can't breathe", a reference to the alleged murder of African-American George Floyd by a white police officer on May 25. The former policeman knelt on Floyd's neck for roughly eight minutes, despite his continued gasps for air, until he lost consciousness. The 46-year-old father was later pronounced dead. 

2:05pm - "You can't fight racism with racism" is the message from Will Ilolahia, a founding member of the Polynesian Panthers.

"We can take on the world. Who is the country that gave women the first right to vote? Who is the country that said 'no nuclear here'? Who is the country that beat this COVID-19? Racism is not a Māori issue, it's not a Pacific Island issue, it's not an African issue. It’s a white, Pakeha problem. 

"I say to my white brothers and sisters here today - work on your neighbours... I'm asking you, don't fight racism with racism. It's for us to get together with intercommunalism. 

"We've got to work together from now on... we've got to try and change this place... this is the best place in the world. I'm glad my parents came from the island of Tonga for me to become a Kiwi."

He urges people not to "let it go" if they witness someone perpetrate everyday racism or micro-aggressions. 

"Don't just stand there and let it go. Change it, that's what revolution is all about," he said. 

Black Lives Matter: Auckland protesters gather for march on Queen St - Sunday, June 14
Photo credit: Newshub

1:56pm - An emotionally-charged spoken word addressing the injustices against the Māori community is being performed. 

"We learnt not to forget, but to hide... so tell us to be quiet, and know that we won't. This is our language. We are reclaiming it," the women said.

Protesters have also gathered in large numbers in Wellington.

1:50pm - Camille Nakhid, an AUT professor of social sciences, is urging people to "stay awake" to keep the "knees off [the] neck" of indigenous people and communities of colour.

"Let's talk about the knee on our necks... on the necks of Māori, Pacific, ethnic communities of colour," Nakhid, from Trinidad and Tobago, told the crowd.

"We have longer waiting lines out of hospital. We are less likely to get medicines that we need... that is the knee on our necks. When they gentrify our neighbourhoods and we have to move to suburbs that have poor transportation, less access to employment, less access to healthcare, that is a knee on our necks.

"These same people among us who are standing next to us, are not standing with us... when the police stop us, incarcerate us at far higher rates because we don't have the money to pay that restorative justice system... that is the knee on our necks. When Oranga Tamiriki steals our children because their systems were designed to fail us... that is the knee on our necks.

"Our indigenous people, our black people, our people of colour... we see you, we acknowledge you. Let us collectively put our arms around each other, embrace each other, and help push those damn knees off our necks."

1:45pm - Another chant is under way among protesters.

"Show me what democracy looks like, show me what Aotearoa looks like, show me what solidarity looks like," the crowd is chanting.

1:40pm - Another speaker from the local music scene, a woman of African-American and Iranian heritage, has expressed she is here to represent her family. She says her great-grandfather was the first African-American to register to vote in Alabama, US.

"How many years have we been saying we need equality... I don't know why the cocnept of eqality and equal rights, to stop killing black people, is such a far-out concept. This is a generational problem, and we need to start accepting that. We're not far off... right here in New Zealand, it's getting more diverse, and we need to have the conversation.

"We need to learn their language, their religion, their name... they are your brother, your neighbour. We are citizens of the world... it breaks my heart to think that I'm only second-generation out of slavery. My great-grandfather was a proud man... he was the first black man to register to vote in Alabama."

1:35pm - "There are parallels in the black struggle and the tangata whenua struggle with police brutality," a speaker has declared.

Protesters have began chanting, "Ain't no power like the power of the people, because the power of the people won't stop".

1:20pm - Speakers have addressed racial inequality and injustice in New Zealand, noting the recent trial of Armed Response Teams (ARTs). The six-month trial, which ended in April, had armed officers responding to serious crime.

The proposal to arm police incited widespread outrage, with many expressing concern it would disproportionately impact Māori and Pasific people. 

"In response to white supremacy, we armed our police in Māori neighbourhoods," social justice campaigner Julia Whaipooti declared.

"For many of us this is not a new moment in time, not a hashtag on Instagram."

In a statement on Tuesday, police commissioner Andrew Coster confirmed ARTs will not be part of the policing model in future.

"It is clear to me these response teams do not align with the style of policing that New Zealanders expect," he said.

1:12pm - One of the event's first speakers, Graham Tipene of Ngāti Whātua, has pointed at his son and said, "That's why we're here".

"Let's fight for what's right and let's be right about how we fight, so that these fullas see it being done well. That's why I brought him today," he declared.

"So that this is hopefully a thing of the past when he's my age. Keep it peaceful, whānau."

The Auckland march has opened with a karakia at Aotea Square and a mihi whakatau by Tipene.

A protester has been seen wearing a hoodie sporting the slogan, "I am my ancestors' wildest dreams".

Black Lives Matter: Auckland protesters gather for march on Queen St - Sunday, June 14
Photo credit: Supplied

1:10pm - Hundreds of people are gathering to take part in the march, many equipped with signs and placards.

Black Lives Matter: Auckland protesters gather for march on Queen St - Sunday, June 14
Photo credit: Newshub

Many are brandishing Black Lives Matter slogans and imagery, while others promote the rallying cries "silence is violence" and "silence = acceptance". 

Black Lives Matter: Auckland protesters gather for march on Queen St - Sunday, June 14
Photo credit: Newshub

1:02pm - Women have started dancing in the streets as the march gets under way. 

This livestream has now ended.