The woman jailed for breaking out of a managed isolation facility appeared at a protest rally against the government's use of lockdowns and other Covid-19 restrictions.

A crowd of a few thousand packed in Auckland's Aotea Square this afternoon, at the "National Rally for Freedom", organised by Advance Party co-leaders, Jami Lee Ross and Billy Te Kahika.

There was little social distancing and few people in the crowd wore masks.

Billy Te Kahika and Jami-Lee Ross of the Advance Party. Photo / Peter Meecham
Billy Te Kahika and Jami-Lee Ross of the Advance Party. Photo / Peter Meecham

Te Kahika told those present they "grieved" for the woman known as "LK" after she "was made an example of last month".

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"She is one New Zealander who has suffered a considerable loss because of the Government's responses to Covid-19."

The woman, who was not named, did not address the crowd.

About a few thousand people were out for Advance Party's demonstration against the government's Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns. Photo / Peter Meecham
About a few thousand people were out for Advance Party's demonstration against the government's Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns. Photo / Peter Meecham

She was sentenced to 14 days' jail after escaping from an isolation facility.

The judge said he accepted grief had likely clouded the woman's judgment and her negative tests had given her a false sense of safety, but there was an element of "selfishness" in her offending as putting herself before the protection of the community "did not accord with tikanga".

She was introduced by Te Kahika as "a lady who touched my heart greatly through this experience".

"I tried to hold her hand during the process, this [is] a mother whose former partner had died, who came to New Zealand, she was tested negative when she got here."

A protest rally was held in Aotea Square. Photo / Peter Meecham
A protest rally was held in Aotea Square. Photo / Peter Meecham

She applied for a compassionate exemption but that was initially denied; the Government said it had been working closely with the family, iwi, Māori wardens, police and the funeral home on a second request but the woman and her four children absconded a few hours before the decision was due.

Te Kahika told the protest because she was "under threat, is trying to get back to Australia, she's just going to wave and come out, she's a brave and courageous lady, she was jailed for 14 days but she was let go in seven as I pounded this government on my Facebook page".

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"If they can imprison a mother of four young children, they can imprison any old one of you, if we say no to the Covid-19 public health bill - they're tyrants, whānau.

About a few thousand people were out for Advance Party's demonstration against the government's Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns. Photo / Peter Meecham
About a few thousand people were out for Advance Party's demonstration against the government's Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns. Photo / Peter Meecham

"We are a logical people," said Te Kahika.

The protest then made its way down Auckland's Queen St before returning to Aotea Square.

A number of police were present at the rally but they refused to comment when RNZ asked whether there were any concerns about social distancing given the size of the crowd.

Minister of Health Chris Hipkins recently issued a strong warning that "fake news, misinformation and conspiracy theories are threatening to derail" the country's Covid-19 response and impede progress to alert level 1.

About a few thousand people were out for Advance Party's demonstration against the government's Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns. Photo / Peter Meecham
About a few thousand people were out for Advance Party's demonstration against the government's Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns. Photo / Peter Meecham

He said looking overseas, it was plain to see the coronavirus was "very, very real" and "very, very deadly", with no vaccine - and although he wanted a co-operative approach, did not rule out punitive measures for people who continue to deliberately spread "lies".

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