More than 50 protesters have been arrested for refusing to leave the grounds of Parliament after being trespassed today.
Police say it is "disappointing" that a number of people continue to refuse to leave, and officers will continue to use their power "fairly and proportionately" in order to remove them.
Defiant protesters are being arrested in a series of scuffles as police move into the crowd on the front lawn. At least one tent has been dragged down by police and several protesters have been led away in handcuffs.
Those arrested will face charges of trespass and obstruction, and will be bailed to appear in court.
They will also be formally served trespass notices from Parliament Grounds.
"It is disappointing that despite the grounds being officially closed to the public earlier today, a number of protesters are refusing repeated requests to leave the precinct," Wellington district commander Superintendent Corrie Parnell said.
Police are also appealing to convoy members to move the vehicles clogging the streets around Parliament.
"Wellingtonians have the right to conduct their lives and go about their business without the interference of ongoing unlawful activity," Parnell said.
Wellington City Council parking enforcement staff are due to start issuing tickets to convoy vehicles blocking roads around Parliament.
Council parking staff were in discussions with police about how to take enforcement action against illegally parked vehicles.
"Parking enforcement will start when Police and Council managers agree it is safe to do so," the council said.
The council hesitated to do this yesterday out of concern for the safety of parking wardens, but will now commence ticketing "as soon as they can".
Wellington Mayor Andy Foster said the council had been working closely with police to ensure the ticketing is carried out safely.
"The intention is to ticket as many as we can that are parked illegally. But to do that in a safe way, with the help of police."
Two large police vans have been parked outside of Parliament, and police are processing the people they have arrested against a concrete wall, not far from the crowd which still remains on the lawn.
Several people are on the ground in handcuffs and protesters can be heard yelling and booing as police continue to push forward.
A protester can be heard yelling for others to "hold the line".
Those protesting outside Parliament have called this their 'Canada moment'.
The comment, made on the protestors own live feed of the demonstration, was made in reference to what's happening in Ottawa, Canada's capital.
Truckers and their supporters have been protesting for nearly two weeks in Canada's capital, blocking roads and a major border crossing.
The Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard has closed the grounds in response to the protesters and the police presence has swelled dramatically with officers taking a much tougher line with the protesters.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says while there is certainly "a lot of emotion" at the protest, the views held by protesters are not reflective of most people.
She added it is time the protesters move on.
Brian Tamaki, who was remanded in custody for ten days after repeatedly breaching his bail to attend similar protests, has spoken in support of the protesters.
He posted on Twitter saying he supports "peaceful, non-violent protests'
More than 100 additional police staff have been called in, including from other districts, to assist the operation and people are being warned to avoid the area as the unrest could cause traffic disruption.
Police moved in to end a tense stand-off with protesters at Parliament this morning after Mallard ordered he wanted their tents gone.
Scuffles are breaking out on the front line as angry protesters clash repeatedly with officers on the skirmish line.
The crowd surged forward into the police line, pushing officers backwards. Police responded with reinforcements, ploughing into the rear of officers, as if during a rugby scrum.
A female protester using a megaphone yelled: "They say we are doing something wrong. We are doing nothing wrong."
Some of those taking part in the protest are continuing to call for peaceful action. "We do not need any aggression or anger here".
"We are not here to create another divide between us and the police. We are all human," said a protester through a megaphone.
She said the police are not the enemies.
There are now more than 50 police officers manning the front line or providing backup behind them. As new scuffles unfold, officers can be seen tussling with protesters and dragging individuals from the mass, pinning them to the ground before handcuffing them and leading them away.
None of the front line officers are wearing police hats, but all are masked. Many of the protesters are holding phones up to officers' faces, filming their every move
Police reinforcements arrived early today
At least two vans packed full of police officers have arrived at Parliament and formed a line as anti-mandate protests enter their third day. A handful of protesters have already been arrested this morning, following three arrests yesterday.
Police are shouting through the megaphone that the protesters are trespassing: "Please leave now."
Officers are leading away individual protesters, while some officers are pushing further into the group.
Mallard said he would like to see the protesters' tents gone today, but it was now up to police to decide whether and when to evict them.
"I would have liked to see them not there in the first place on Tuesday," he said
"It's a police operation, and I have requested police assistance to remove the tents and the timing of that is up to them."
Mallard did not wish to comment on the impact the protest was having on Parliament until after it was over.
Hundreds of protesters travelled to Parliament from across Aotearoa on Sunday in a protest dubbed Convoy 2022.
Clogging main roads throughout the country on their way, the protesters plan to stay in Wellington and block the central streets there until their "demands" are met – with some threatening to enter Parliament if this is not the case.
'Volatile situation': Wellington mayor
Wellington mayor Andy Foster said the protest was a "volatile situation" and stressed police were in charge of handling the protest and acknowledged it was "obviously a problem for our city" and affected people's ability to get around.
Wellington City Council is taking action to try and clear city streets from illegally parked cars connected with the protest.
Mayor Andy Foster told Newstalk ZB's Nick Mills they will be ticketing vehicles over the "next little while".
"We want the cars out of the way and we'll certainly be moving to do that as soon as we possibly can. Obviously we want to get the streets of our city back and we want to get Parliament's grounds back too
"You will see action unfolding on this"
Local businesses were also affected, Foster told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking on Wednesday.
The protesters had made their point and they now needed to go away.
He said there was concern for the safety of wardens.
"Marching in there issuing a few tickets doesn't move vehicles and clearly I think you can see the volatile situation we'd end up with our staff being putting themselves in danger.
"You've got a lot of people down there and they've (police) got to work out safely how this can be resolved and to make sure it's done without unnecessary people getting hurt.
"It has to be very well-planned and executed whatever you did."
Foster said the protest was causing major disruptions for businesses and for people getting around the city.
"I don't think we've seen anything remotely like this," he said.
"From my perspective the protesters have made their point."
Wellington Chamber of Commerce chief executive Simon Arcus said Foster's comment today that the council did not have control of that part of the city "just isn't delivering what business needs".
"This is having a serious impact for businesses around the Parliament and across Wellington - additional pressure especially for our many hospitality and retail businesses, who are already making tough decisions facing a downturn at the red traffic light level, with this adding to further lost revenue and unrecoverable costs," he said.
"People are staying away from the CBD due to the protests, businesses are having to close for safety, and we've seen people being stopped from getting onto public transport to get home safely."
Police are remaining tight-lipped over whether they will try to shift hundreds of protesters currently camped outside Parliament.
Three men were arrested yesterday after a small group attempted to breach gates set up on the Parliamentary forecourt as a barrier preventing access to the main buildings.
The men - aged 61, 57 and 50 - were charged with obstruction and were bailed to appear in the Wellington District Court next Monday.
The men were also issued trespass notices. They were the only protesters trespassed, police said.
Police last night said they continued "to engage with organisers from the different groups present" and that staff would remain on Parliament grounds overnight.
While most of the day was peaceful, there were reports of members of the public being abused by protesters, including a 17-year-old girl who had eggs hurled at her because she was wearing a mask. Singer Hollie Smith tweeted that a friend had been punched as she walked past.
Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson told RNZ he's led protests at Parliamentary grounds himself, and respects people's right to protest.
But the Wellington Central MP said businesses and people in his electorate are being excessively disrupted by the demonstrations.
He's passed on their concerns to the Speaker and Police.
There was tension mid-morning yesterday when parliamentary security accompanied by police spoke with protest organisers. One organiser angrily began yelling abuse.
A crowd gathered around and also began verbally abusing the media present.
Police at that stage took no action against the protesters.
Just after 3pm a small group attempted to breach the gates and the three arrests were made.
In a statement just after 10pm last night, Wellington District Commander Superintendent Corrie Parnell said police and parliamentary security staff had earlier made an approach to organisers "on behalf of the Speaker of the House, to request the removal of tents and all structures within Parliament grounds.
"This did not constitute a trespass notice."
Parnell indicated earlier that police were willing to wait the protesters out.
Police would "continue to monitor activity", recognising people had a right to peaceful protest.
Due to parked vehicles, a small part of Molesworth St last night remained impassable to through traffic and the area around Parliament, including the northern end of Lambton Quay and lower Bowen St, should be avoided, Parnell said.
Earlier, the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the House declined to say if they felt the protesters should be moved on, saying it was a matter for police.
Media have been asked not to report from the Parliament grounds, with the Speaker citing safety concerns.
As media attempted to report on the protest, threats were hurled at them, including for reporters to "watch your backs on the street tonight" and even that they would be "executed" for their reporting.
Many also criticised mainstream media for not reporting on the protest.
Newstalk ZB's Barry Soper spoke to several protesters.
Helen Coster told Soper she worked for the New Zealand Defence Force and declined to get the vaccine due to an underlying health condition, which she felt would put her at risk.
As her profession fell under a mandate she said she had been told her job would be terminated on March 1.
"I feel I am in a no-win situation. I have been a loyal employee for nine years. I moved to Ohakea with my 13-year-old son and family. I am heartbroken and betrayed."
Another protester, who declined to give his name, said he felt the mandates were causing division.
"We have never been so divided in our history," he said.
"I just look around the people who have joined this movement, representing every colour, creed, age bracket, all speaking in one voice to end the mandates."
He said because he did not allow his 13-year-old daughter to be vaccinated, the sprint champion could not compete in athletics.
While protesters united under the banner of opposing mandates, the Herald viewed a vast array of concerns, including misinformation about vaccines and natural immunity, along with protests about Oranga Tamariki, Three Waters reforms and even about saving Marsden Point near Whangārei.
Politicians have been universal in their condemnation of the protest messages around vaccine misinformation, while also supporting their right to protest.
No MP greeted the protesters, as often happens during protests at Parliament.
The Prime Minister said while she was concerned about misinformation, the right of protesters to be there was "a part of New Zealand".
"I've seen a range of protests over my time and this is certainly not large in scale. And not representative of the vast majority of New Zealanders."
Asked about some of the views being portrayed, including that natural immunity was more effective than the vaccines, Ardern said it was concerning.
"We should all be concerned about misinformation. Not just Covid and vaccines but generally.
"There is a core here where actually they think that they're trying to save everyone else.
"It is very hard to have a conversation about facts when they question everything. But remember – it's a small group – keep it in perspective.
"The only reason they can move around is because [the] majority of people are getting vaccinated."
Asked why police did not simply move them along, particularly given it could be a "superspreader event", Ardern said these decisions were for police, as were decisions around traffic control.
"You would never want a government in charge. That is always a call for police.
"People often protest on the front lawn of Parliament. It is part of New Zealand."
National Party Covid-19 spokesman Chris Bishop said the protesters denied "the fundamental science behind vaccination".
"We fundamentally as a Parliament believe in the science of vaccination and it's really important we stand collectively together to send that message.
"But at the end of the day they have the right to protest."
About 50 tents remained on Parliament grounds and estimates are of about 700 people gathered.
Protesters have shown no indication of when they would move on, and there are reports more will arrive from across the country in coming days.