Coronavirus: No arrests at Brian Tamaki's anti-lockdown protest, police deny crowd got 'special treatment'

There were just 20 police officers assigned to control a crowd of 1000 in Auckland on Saturday, a light-handed approach they admit was deliberate. 

Authorities allowed the event to go ahead, breaking the level 3 rules, but charges could still be laid.

Outnumbered by hundreds, there was just one officer to every 50 protestors.

"Today was one of observation and monitoring," says police's Auckland City District Commander Karyn Malthus. 

Less than 20 police officers observed 1000 people break level 3 laws, but no arrests were made and no charges laid.

"To arrest people today was not the safest course to take with a crowd that size," says Malthus. 

Social media shows people calling the police a joke, some wanted to see the event organiser Brian Tamaki arrested for endangering Aucklanders while there are calls for Police Minister Poto Williams to resign. 

She wouldn't speak to Newshub today, neither would the Prime Minister or the National Party. 

ACT Leader David Seymour says police should have enforced the rules and moved people on.

"It's not fair that everyone else is kept in fear and inconvenienced by following the rules and these guys, get off scot-free," he says.

During Auckland's time at alert level 3, police have charged seven people for breaching the rules.

Asked if the organisers and protesters got special treatment on Saturday, Malthus said: "I don't consider it was special treatment. We have a graduated response model which starts with engaging."

Many onlookers were angry, but some didn't necessarily want anyone to be arrested, saying that would have caused "chaos". 

Newshub saw police using surveillance tactics, photographing protestors and scanning car registrations. They're not ruling out laying charges at a later date. 

"We will take a look at the gathering today, and we will assess that and consider that over the coming days," Malthus says.

Police hope all other Aucklanders keep abiding by the rules, despite no enforcement at the protest.