Police officer assaulted at Auckland pro-Palestinian protest; pepper spray used on demonstrator

A group of roughly 100 pro-Palestinian protesters clashed with police on Thursday afternoon.
A group of roughly 100 pro-Palestinian protesters clashed with police on Thursday afternoon. Photo credit: Supplied

Six pro-Palestinian protesters have been arrested and one police officer was assaulted during a conflict at Ports of Auckland on Thursday afternoon.  

A group of up to 100 protesters were seen protesting imports of Israeli goods before scenes became out of control.  

Footage posted on social media showed one protester being pepper sprayed. 

Inspector David Christoffersen said despite the group of protesters initially acting lawfully, they then made a "collective decision" to block the roadway, entrance and exit to the port.  

"The group was warned they were obstructing the roadway and port operations and asked to move, however they refused to do so." 

Five protesters were arrested for obstruction and one for disorderly behaviour.   

Christoffersen said pepper spray was "deployed on one occasion".  

One police officer was assaulted and received a split lip which did not require medical attention, police said.   

"Police had attempted to engage with the group prior to the protest action and had given advice on how to protest safely and legally at an adjacent location," Christoffersen said. "However, this advice was not heeded."  

Police described the behaviour of the protest as "unacceptable".  

"It disrupts the operations of a busy workplace and puts those in the area at risk."  

One woman who spoke to Newshub accused police of "excessive force" against protesters to "disperse the crowd".  

She said the number of protesters reached about 100 by 5pm.  

"Approximately 40 police moved in to remove the protestors by force." 

One video shared with Newshub shows a police officer running up to a man and tackling him to the ground.   

The woman said the man was "forced to the pavement under the weight of the police officer".  

According to the NZ Herald, the man had thrown a bottle before being tackled.