Fears anti-mandate protest could be COVID-19 super-spreader event as police warn it could go on for days more

On the same day New Zealand recorded 306 new COVID-19 cases - our highest ever daily count - there are fears a large protest at Parliament will become a super-spreader event.

Violence erupted on the lawns in front of the Beehive this morning, after hundreds of protesters were trespassed.

It's the third day of protesting vaccine mandates and at least 120 people were arrested. Police say two of their officers were assaulted.

Both sides are bringing in reinforcements with fears the standoff could last for days to come.

It was a wall of high-vis pushing back against an angry crowd, as police and protesters clashed - officers plucking people from the front line one by one, forcing some to the ground.

They took others away in handcuffs to be loaded into police vans. Cellphone footage captured an injured police officer crawling out of the mob after attempting to take down one of the tents on the Beehive lawn.

Superintendent Corrie Parnell, Wellington District Commander, confirmed two police staff had been assaulted on Thursday and are now recovering.

What was mostly a peaceful protest in its first two days escalated as it entered its third, with claims from police children are getting mixed up in it.

The arrests were swift - 120 so far - after Parliament's grounds were closed and all protesters were trespassed.

At least 100 police officers were on site, with another 150 called in from other districts for support. Some officers could be seen with face masks falling down as they battled against the crowd.

While some tents went up, others were taken away by security and police. As protesters joined arms, backs turned to the wall of blue.

At one point people could be seen washing their eyes after pepper spray was used. Police say it was necessary.

Despite the displays of violence, protesters Newshub spoke to say things remain calm. 

But a beauty salon owner says all of his clients have cancelled, too afraid to come into the CBD.

"We're down 60-70 percent of our revenue just in these three days," he said.

He's also been harassed for wearing a mask.  

"Protest, do what you have to do, but why affect us?"

Late on Thursday afternoon, parking wardens guarded by police were out in force ticketing the cars that have been blocking roads for three days.

And with complete disregard for COVID-19 safety measures, there are now fears it could be a COVID-19 super spreader event.

Authorities are now in for another night of chaos.