* 'We want our streets back' - Wellington mayor angry as protest grows
* Jarrod Gilbert: The Covid anti-mandate Parliament protest and disinformation
* Sasha Borissenko: The many laws Covid anti-mandate Parliament protesters are breaking
* Heather du Plessis-Allan: How long can the stand-off go on?
* Satire: Reading between the lines - Steve Braunias translates police's protest press release
Protesters have allegedly thrown human waste at officers - and ripped off some of the officers' masks - as they clashed with police in Wellington early this morning.
Central Wellington streets were blocked off using concrete barricades and police and protesters faced off as the demonstration entered day 14 of its occupation at Parliament.
From 3.30am police began installing barriers at eight locations around Parliament, including Lambton Quay, Mulgrave Street, Hill Street, Molesworth Street and Kate Sheppard Place.
It's understood a select few protesters threw excrement sourced from portaloos at police officers during the action.
An officer told the Herald it occurred as officers held off protesters while the concrete blocks were put down at various streets around Parliament.
He also said some protesters ripped off police officers' masks as they clashed.
Protesters are still reportedly abusing members of the public walking to work even in front of the police, with one woman wearing a mask was yelled at for taking a photo.
Police have now stated they are allowing sanitary vehicles through to clean protesters' portaloos. Protesters had claimed earlier the vehicles had not been permitted through the barricade.
The early morning police operation had involved 300 staff and large-scale equipment and is intended to prevent further growth of the protest and to maintain access for residents, businesses and emergency vehicles, said police.
A handful of protesters were arrested as barriers were installed.
A protester who woke to the surprise police action this morning described how protesters from all around the Parliament area were yelling and shouting as police moved in.
He said many of the children in the area were upset and crying as it was taking place.
More than 100 cops were there to push back any protestors who objected, but as soon as the concrete barriers were down they all left abruptly, said a reporter at the scene.
Officers were also seen attempting to tow cars.
More protesters are coming in to reinforce those lined up inside the barriers, who yelled "hold the line" and "keep it peaceful".
On Featherston Street protesters were seen climbing onto the trucks trying to stop the barricade.
Meanwhile a defiant Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has reiterated this morning that it's time the protesters went home.
"The protesters have had their say, it's time they go home."
She told RNZ she was briefed this morning by Police commissioner Andrew Coster about the police operation.
The police are putting barricades around the perimeters and entry points of the protest to stop further growth and further disruption to Wellingtonians, she said.
But it didn't necessarily mean they were still waiting for the protesters to go home, she said.
She refused to budge on any of their demands, or consider meeting with them, saying the pandemic was top of her mind.
Speaking on TVNZ's Breakfast, Ardern said the measures that protesters are calling to be lifted and removed had helped to keep the country safe during the ongoing Covid pandemic.
Another record number of cases reported yesterday showed how real the situation is, she said.
"That is top of my mind - focusing on the pandemic."
"Now is not the time to pull down our armour and nor will we do it because people are camping on the front lawn."
She said it was not yet known what would happen if the protesters did not leave.
"What is very clear is that there is illegal activity happening here at Parliament," she said.
"People are being disrupted ... is not okay. They need to leave."
On the vaccine mandates, she said they were one of the many restrictions that "were not forever".
Speaking to AM, she said New Zealand had already moved away from lockdowns and was opening the border and would eventually remove other restrictions as it was safe to do so.
The current measures right now had the broad support of most New Zealanders because they were were right at the front end of the peak.
"Now is not the time to pull of all the armour right when the enemy has arrived at the door step".
Meanwhile Wellington mayor Andy Foster said he had spoken with some protesters.
"Most people are perfectly reasonable to talk to and they told me their stories. I think it's useful to know that," he told TVNZ's Breakfast Show.
Foster acknowledged he wanted to see the situation solved without anyone getting hurt.
He said the Government needed to "at least" listen and have a conversation with protesters.
"We want to get our city back."
It comes as a traffic management operation is underway near the protest area, intended to prevent it from expanding further into the city.
Commuters are being told to expect road closures for vehicles around the vicinity of Parliament and to consider alternative travel routes.
The train station is still open and pedestrian foot traffic is not affected.
Police are also increasing their patrols around the schools and train stations especially before and after school.
One Wellington school has told parents it will be practicing its lockdown procedures so children know what to do if there is a physical threat in the school such as a "swarm of bees or an angry dog".
"We practise this in a way they feel comfortable and confident when they hear the special alarm," the school note said.
Police tightened security around stretches of the parliamentary precinct yesterday and stressed they're taking a zero-tolerance approach to "abuse, intimidation, or violence" from protesters at Parliament to members of the public.
"There will be an increased police presence around the protest area, especially at the start and end of each school/work day. Anyone abusing or intimidating members of the public can expect to be arrested, removed and face charges," police said yesterday evening.
The heightened security from mid-afternoon on Sunday followed news the Speaker of the House wanted a new fence considered and the Act Party said Omicron data required a vaccine mandate rethink.
A Ballantrae Place resident said about 15 protesters made a lot of noise at about 3pm.
"Then a whole bunch of police came running."
He said resolving the protest's most antisocial aspects was a matter for the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, not for Parliament or the Speaker.
His Victoria University classes were now online-only and he said staff had been threatened.
"The Government needs to do something. They can't just ignore it forever."
The protesters earlier said the Government had "childishly dug itself a hole" in its refusal to meet with them and has called out what they labelled Speaker Trevor Mallard's "puerile behaviour".
"Despite knowing the outcome is impossible to achieve, the ultimatum over vehicle parking is not dissimilar to a top-down command issued by a parent to a child," a statement issued on behalf of the protesters said.
The statement - signed by Convoy 2022 NZ, Freedom Alliance, New Zealand Doctors Speaking Out with Science, Outdoors & Freedom Movement, The Freedom and Rights Coalition and Voices for Freedom - also fired a missive at National leader Christopher Luxon.
"In any normal situation like this, the Opposition would read the room and pivot. But by joining the cross-party agreement to not engage with the protesters, they have shown themselves to be gutless and incapable of representing the interests and concerns of the New Zealand public," they said.
"Luxon's strong support for mandates ... will be remembered at the next election," they said.
The protester groups said they were "working with the police in a mutually co-operative manner to ensure everyone's safety and right to peaceful protest".
"This was particularly important over the past two days as numbers attending Parliament Grounds protest naturally swell over the weekend.
"It is vital that we maintain a respectful and open dialogue with the police as we are all in unchartered territories. At all costs, we must avoid the situation at Parliament Grounds last week, which saw 122 people arrested and many more hurt.
"Despite formally requesting a meeting over a week ago, and then us putting forward a highly skilled mediator five days ago, the Government still refuses to engage with us."
Inside the camp
Apart from hundreds of tents, the protest site also featured yoga and massage services, a hair salon, basketball hoop, and cryptocurrency lessons.
At the end of Hill St near portaloos, convoy cars were sometimes parked side by side but traffic could still move.
A large group of police were on Hill St near the British High Commission at about 4pm.
Interactions between police, convoy participants and protester security staff in the area appeared cordial.
At the protests, signs and banners continued displaying a variety of messages but with opposition to Covid-19 vaccine mandates the most common theme.
A white banner draped between trees next to Bowen St appeared to address the Government.
"Thank you 4 keeping out Delta. Omicron is the game changer. End mandates."
Act leader David Seymour said Omicron infection data suggested it was time to consider if current Covid-19 health responses were realistic.
"Vaccination rates are making little difference to infection rates under Omicron, which means it's time to ask if the benefits of vaccine rules are still worth the costs to individuals, and social cohesion overall," he said.
"Based on new evidence, it may be time to move on from Government vaccine mandates."
He said the Ministry of Health should be more transparent about the vaccination history of people infected with Covid-19.
Vaccination was still the best way to avoid hospitalisation but even strongly pro-vaccine people should confront what new evidence says about infection rates, Seymour said.
National Māori Authority chair Matthew Tukaki launched an online counter-protest and voiced support for police, public servants, and for many others not attending the occupation.
"The vast majority of New Zealanders are with you, and while the last two years have been tough for us all, what's happening down at the national Parliament is not the majority of the nation," he said in a Facebook Live broadcast.
Tukaki advised against physical counter-protests.
"We are not a violent country. I do not want to see what has been happening in Canada or the United States."
Tukaki said he wanted to tell protesters: "Go home. You've had your say and you have been heard. The mandates will inevitably end."
Earlier, police asked some protesters camping on the lawn in front of Turnbull House on Bowen St to leave.
One protester said they'd been camping out for three days, it was one of few grassy areas not turned to mud, and they worried others would come and take vacant spots.
The protester said they'd been advised to find an "admin tent" in the centre of the protest to get an available place after some people vacated the area.
The admin tent also had people responsible for paying parking fines, the protester added.
Earlier, a few protesters in the morning shifted gear, and space opened up on the main lawn in previously congested areas.
After a rainy night, protester numbers appeared down from Saturday, when police predicted attendance would rise due to people arriving for the weekend.
Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said emergency powers could be considered only if the situation worsened.
He told Q&A de-escalation could still be achieved and the protest resolved without widespread violence.
On the TVNZ show, Coster referred to Canadian protests which partly inspired the Wellington event.
"We're seeing a situation play out in Canada at the moment, they've had to reach for emergency powers ... recognising their situation is different from ours, that's one path."
Six protest groups said an experienced, neutral party was appointed to mediate, but the Government was still not engaging.
"It is unprecedented for the Government to refuse to meet with such a large protest group and treat them with such contempt," the Combined Protest Groups statement added.
Speaker Trevor Mallard has asked for scoping work to begin on installing a fence around Parliament's perimeter. A fence was recommended in a security review of Parliament in 2019/20.
Mallard said he'd still expect Parliament's grounds to be open at most times, but the protest highlighted challenges in controlling access when needed.
The National Party said it expected to be consulted on any plans Labour might have, as access to Parliament was a matter for all parties, on behalf of all Kiwis.
"Preventing regular access to Parliament's grounds would be a huge step," the party said.
"In this country, we've always prided ourselves on the close connection between politicians and the people."
Police yesterday evening said the security of Parliament, the Courts and nearby university campus would be prioritised.
"Regular reassurance patrols of local businesses have been increased," police added in a statement.
"Anyone abusing or intimidating members of the public can expect to be arrested, removed and face charges."
- additional reporting RNZ