A man accused of organising a Whangārei anti-Covid lockdown protest has pleaded not guilty to two charges of failing to comply with orders made under Covid-19 rules.
Robert (Robbie) Johnson, 47, is accused of organising a FreedomsNZ rally at Kensington Park, Whangārei, on October 16 that drew more than 1000 people opposed to lockdowns and other aspects of the Covid-19 response.
Johnson appeared in Whangārei District Court on Friday before Judge Gene Tomlinson facing two charges of failing to comply with orders made under Covid-19 rules.
Johnson pleaded not guilty to both charges and was remanded on bail until December 17.
Conditions of his bail include that Johnson not organise or attend any protests that breach Covid-19 rules.
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He's also not allowed to use the internet, including Facebook, to urge others to ignore Covid-19 restriction rules, such as not wearing masks or not social distancing.
Judge Tomlinson said Johnson could organise or attend any protests that did not breach the rules but if he did, and others breached the conditions at the event, Johnson could be breaching his bail and subject to arrest.
More than 1000 people gathered at Whangarei's Kensington Park on October 16 in a protest led by the Destiny Church-affiliated Man Up movement and FreedomsNZ.
It was held on the same day of the nationwide Super Saturday initiative, where district health boards and Māori health providers tried to get as many people as possible vaccinated in one day.
The Kensington Park event was the biggest protest in the country after Auckland where an estimated 2000 people gathered at Auckland Domain.
A small group of FreedomsNZ supporters turned up to support Johnson outside Whangārei District Court on Friday.