Wellingtonians mocked, abused by COVID-19 anti-mandate protesters as they swarm the city

Wellingtonians trying to go about their day-to-day lives were mocked and abused by anti-vaccine mandate protesters in the CBD.

The protesters have wreaked havoc in the capital and at Parliament over the past two days, and on Wednesday three people were arrested after they broke through a line of police.

Many in the city are fed up with the anti-social behaviour and clogged streets.

While there were police reinforcements on Wednesday, it was a different story on Tuesday. Bridget McKenzie, 16, was stranded at her school after bus services were cancelled. She says protesters mocked her.

"They were like, 'Oh you can't get home, shame, you'll be here for weeks unless you walk'. They kind of just mocked and laughed at us," she says.

Her mum, Elizabeth Parsons, wants to know why police and Wellington Council didn't step in on Tuesday.

"We've had protests before. Why were they not prepared and why were they not protecting the safety of us vulnerable people who catch the buses?"

Cars were still blocking the streets around Wellington's CBD on Wednesday afternoon, but no tickets have been issued or vehicles towed.

A pub across the street from Parliament was forced to close after protesters intimidated staff. 

"They started calling us Nazis and just general abuse. We've had foreshore and seabed marches, every march you can imagine, and we've never been in that situation," says Alistair Boyce of Backbencher Gastropub.

The closure is hurting them after they were already struggling under COVID-19 restrictions.

"What Western nation has a main street blocked off for 24 hours with protesters?" he says.

Despite the volatility and road blockages, it's still unclear when authorities will bring this to an end. 

"We have a very large protest, a potentially volatile protest, and the really important thing is that what we do and when we do it we keep people safe so that we can try and resolve this in a way that nobody gets hurt," Wellington Mayor Andy Foster says.

One thing is clear: despite their mixed messages, the protesters are united and won't be leaving without a fight.