Concerns have been raised about why police were taking photos of protesters outside Parliament today during a visit from the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Around 200 people turned out to the 350 Aotearoa protest, showing their opposition to the US decision to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement.

Police who attended the event included an officer with a long-lens camera who took photos of the protesters.

In a statement police said there could be "a number of operational reasons" why they might take photos at such events.

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"Examples may include where it is considered there could be illegal or criminal activity, so as to provide an accurate evidential record of the events should this be required later.

"If there is no evidence of any offending, the images are deleted," the statement said.

But Green MP Gareth Hughes told Fairfax he had never seen police take photos of protesters outside Parliament before.

Greens co-leader James Shaw addresses protesters outside Parliament today. Photo/NZHerald
Greens co-leader James Shaw addresses protesters outside Parliament today. Photo/NZHerald

The protesters were not the only ones to oppose Tillerson's visit.

Visiting journalists noted the high number of passersby giving his cavalcade the finger as it made its way through Wellington.