There was a large police presence as protesters headed towards Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Video / George Clark
Protesters in a marked truck and a procession of cars have been escorted across the Auckland Harbour Bridge today by half a dozen police cars.
The operation has caused significant traffic delays.
The escort happened about 12:30pm today after a large police presence congregated at the northern entrance of the Auckland Harbour Bridge in anticipation of “planned protest activity”.
NZ Transport Agency confirmed shortly after midday two southbound lanes remained closed on Auckland Harbour Bridge and to expect delays.
There was evidence of a smashed-up police van and a “wailing” woman taken into custody at Onewa Domain near the entrance to State Highway 1 on Auckland’s North Shore around 11am.
Surrounding the white truck with the words “Mana News Live” printed in large orange letters on the side were numerous other cars with flags out their windows.
The procession of cars shortly after midday was travelling very slowly and constant honking could be heard on the harbour bridge as they crossed.
The Mana News company describes itself as an alternate news source concerned with disinformation. The group has aligned themselves with the Parliamentary anti-mandate protests in Wellington.
Both police and NZ Transport Agency have confirmed they were aware of a planned protest, with the intention of pedestrians crossing Auckland Harbour Bridge on foot.
Witnesses at Onewa Domain on Auckland’s North Shore on the entrance to the harbour bridge have described around 50 police officers and over a dozen police cars parked near the on-ramp entrance.
Images from the scene at 11am today only show two protestors – one man flying a United Tribes Flag, and a woman who was arrested by officers while “wailing”.
It is unclear at this stage what is the cause of the protest.
NZTA announced around this morning online they were aware of the protest and precautions were in place.
“Waka Kotahi is aware of potential protest activity in the vicinity of Auckland Harbour Bridge. Waka Kotahi has not and will not approve access for pedestrian access on any part of Auckland Motorways including the Harbour Bridge,” the transport agency posted on their Auckland Facebook page.
“NZ Police have engaged with protest organisers and are managing the response.”
Police also confirmed they are attending in anticipation of the protest.
“Police are aware of planned protest activity in the Central Auckland area and are monitoring the situation. Police will respond if issues arise.”
There are also around eight parked police cars on the Onewa Rd on-ramp to State Highway 1 leading onto the bridge at Northcote Point.
It is understood both the Onewa on ramp and off ramp have now been closed by police.
MORE TO COME