Anti-mandate convoy: Videos call into question police claims of 'very professional' response to protest

A series of videos taken during the anti-mandate protest in Wellington have called into question police claims of "professional" conduct while dealing with demonstrators.

Protesters have been camped outside Parliament since Tuesday, pushing for a removal of COVID-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions.

On Thursday, the atmosphere became more hostile than ever when Speaker Trevor Mallard issued protesters a trespass notice, resulting in a heated stand-off with police and the arrest of more than 100 people in 24 hours.

Speaking about the day's events at a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Wellington District Commander Supt Corrie Parnell said he was happy with how his officers conducted themselves.

"I think if you've watched any of the footage today, which I have intently, our people have acted proportionately, fairly and very professionally," he said.

But videos sent to Newshub have called that characterisation of police actions into question.

In the first video, which appears to be an excerpt of a livestream, a man can be seen speaking calmly with a police officer until the officer suddenly and forcefully grabs the man around the neck, seemingly without provocation.

Protesters can be heard booing as police staff rush to help their colleague drag the man to the ground and arrest him while several others form a barricade.

Another video shows what appears to be a naked woman being dragged by her dreadlocks out of a stand-off between police and protesters.

She is pinned to the ground and handcuffed by two female officers. A male officer can then be seen walking over and placing his knee on her neck, despite her not appearing to be resisting arrest.

A protester is arrested on Thursday.
A protester is arrested on Thursday. Photo credit: Newshub

A third video was sent to Newshub by an attendee of the protest who filmed their interaction with a police officer.

"You should be real proud of your fellow protesters: you've got religious nutcases, gang members, the great unwashed and the unemployed," an officer tells a demonstrator.

"You shouldn't be so judgemental of people," the demonstrator responds. "Be a bit nice to people." 

Police told Newshub the videos don't show the "full context" of what was happening. 

"The images and videos do not provide the full context of the protest activity and full situation our staff faced today. Police will not be commenting on individual arrests."