Freedom and Rights Coalition protesters wanting to cause 'motorway mayhem' gather

  • Updated
  • 23/07/2022

Anti-Government protesters were able to stop and block traffic on a major Auckland motorway on Saturday morning.

On Friday, the group known as the Freedom and Rights Coalition announced it intended to carry out protests across New Zealand on Saturday.

The group is linked to Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki. Tamaki is known for his involvement in controversial anti-lockdown protests during last year's Delta outbreak and his vocal opposition to COVID-19 mandates.

Tamaki spoke to a group of protesters at Auckland Domain where he aired different grievances with the Government.

Following the speech, around 1000 protesters marched out of the Domain and blocked traffic on Auckland's Southern Motorway.

The group entered the motorway at the Khyber Pass Rd on-ramp with police stopping traffic behind them.

Protestors on the motorway were seen carrying a large banner that said: "Labour must go" while New Zealand and Samoan flags are also seen.

While on the motorway, protesters stopped and performed a haka with trucks tooting as they went past on southbound lanes.

A Newshub reporter at the scene said protestors in vehicles on the south side of the motorway then started intentionally driving slowly and holding up traffic.

Protesters then exited at the Gillies Ave off-ramp at around 12pm before rejoining the motorway heading northbound, blocking traffic heading into the city.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency confirmed on Twitter the northbound lanes on the Southern Motorway at the Market Road off-ramp were closed.

Protesters started arriving back at Auckland Domain shortly before 1pm,  with lanes in both directions now reopened but commuters are still expected to face delays. 

Newshub pictures show protesters starting to gather at Auckland Domain on Saturday morning.

The Freedom and Rights Coalition was also involved in the Parliament anti-mandate protest earlier this year.

Police said officers would be monitoring the protest activity and are urging motorists in central Wellington to avoid the area.

Freedom and Rights Coalition protesters wanting to cause 'motorway mayhem' gather
Photo credit: Newshub

In a statement on Saturday, police said they're advising motorists there may be disruption  morning during the protest march.

"Organisers have let police know a march is planned along the Quays between Frank Kitts Park and the Railway Station from 11am," police said. 

"Police will be present to ensure the safety of all."

Freedom and Rights Coalition protesters wanting to cause 'motorway mayhem' gather
Photo credit: Ashleigh Yates/Newshub.

In a statement on Friday, the Freedom and Rights Coalition said it had planned marches in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch on Saturday against "the declining quality of life and the incompetence of this Government".

"We the people are fed up with the present political system and its incompetent politicians who are destroying the lives of everyday hard-working Kiwi families.

"It is our intention to cause a major public interruption and disruption. We will likely cause motorway mayhem in Auckland and chaos in these major cities as we raise public awareness of the damage this Government is causing across this country."