Large police presence at protest in Auckland, 11 arrested

Police say 11 people have been arrested after the planned protest that caused road closures in Auckland earlier on Saturday.

Police gathered at the northern entrance of the Auckland Harbour Bridge in anticipation of the protest, which saw protesters' vehicles escorted across the bridge by police cars.

Social media posts from protesters suggested the protest was against the Government's Three Waters plan.

Waitematā District Commander Superintendent Naila Hassan confirmed 11 people have been arrested and face a number of charges including driving-related charges, resisting arrest, obstruction and assaulting police. There were no injuries to police.

"The behaviour that these people demonstrated today was incredibly selfish, it was simply stupid behaviour," Supt Hassan said.

"We had advised them of the risks they pose to themselves and other road users and they absolutely took no notice of that."

She said police had received information about the planned protest marching over the bridge  on foot and engaged with the group over the past few days to deter them from undertaking the "unlawful activity" but said they were "adamant" to march over the bridge.

Supt Hassan said after advising the protesters of the serious safety concerns and risks they posed to themselves and other road users the group agreed to drive their vehicles over the bridge at a set speed -but that agreement was broken.

She said the group stopped their vehicles on the bridge and a number of people jumped out of the vehicles.

"I really want to acknowledge our staff today. It was not an easy situation," Supt Hassan said.

"It is a really high-risk environment up the Harbour Bridge, they acted in a manner that was very professional and very swift in order to bring this really dangerous situation under control."

A police spokesperson said they are investigating to identify any further unlawful behaviour and will hold those involved to account. 

Large police presence at protest in Auckland, 11 arrested
Photo credit: Facebook

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency said it did not approve access for pedestrians on the Habour Bridge.

"Waka Kotahi is aware of potential protest activity in the vicinity of Auckland Harbour Bridge," the agency posted on Facebook. 

"Waka Kotahi has not and will not approve access for pedestrian access on any part of Auckland Motorways including the Harbour Bridge.

"NZ Police have engaged with protest organisers and are managing the response."

Two southbound lanes on the Auckland Habour Bridge were closed by Waka Kotahi, however, the agency said the roads are now clear but warned motorists to still expect delays.

"The road is now fully CLEAR. Please continue to expect DELAYS, as the southbound queues are back to Greville Rd on-ramp."

These delays have since been eased.