Protesters hold up Destiny Church march

By Philip English

A stand-off in Queen St halted thousands of Destiny marchers for more than an hour on Saturday morning.

The marchers were held up by about 50 "diversity" protesters at the intersection of Shortland and Queen Streets in central Auckland but they remained well-behaved throughout the stand-off.

The two sides - with some protesters in punk-style, mock bishop clothing and Brian Tamaki masks - merged at times but the police in the middle eventually separated the marchers from the protesters.

Only bodyguards of the Destiny Church leader, Bishop Brian Tamaki, appeared anxious.

Bishop Tamaki himself appeared nervous at times. He was taunted before the march resumed. Placards in the stand-off stated "Down with this Sort of Thing", "Let Us Return to Firm Foundations" and "Hate is not a Family Value".

The only scuffles appeared to be between the police and the protesters. When the march resumed its momentum it was impossible for protesters, mainly gay couples, to stop it.

The marchers appeared to represent many sections of society, and colourful clothing was the order of the day.

With the police clearing the way, the marchers - at least 10,000 of them - made for Myers Park where Bishop Tamaki told them: "We have had enough of liberal behaviour in this country."

He also berated churches for being what he called politically-neutral.

But some marchers did not hear him say: "When you come next time I expect this to be 10 times bigger."

They had left before he finished speaking.

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