Controversial British activist Posie Parker has tonight been seen checking into a flight at Auckland International Airport, escorted by numerous police officers after facing overwhelming opposition at a rally today.
The British activist - widely labelled as anti-trans - was seen checking into an Emirates flight about 6.30pm.
A witness says Kelly-Jay Keen-Minshull, also known as Posie Parker, was escorted by four police officers and fast tracked through the check-in queue.
When the Herald contacted Parker after her sighting in Auckland Airport, she said could not discuss her whereabouts or the status of tomorrow’s Wellington event.
Parker said she would provide more information tomorrow.
Parker had been scheduled to speak in Wellington’s Civic Square as part of her Let Women Speak tour.
But an enormous counter-protest at Auckland’s Albert Park - which saw her doused with tomato juice and blocked from speaking - appeared to give her second thoughts about another public event.
Speaking from a livestream in the back seat of a police car after the event, Parker asked whether she would get a similar reception in Wellington. When told that she would, she said: “Maybe it’s time to say that we can’t do it”.
Parker tweeted this evening that she feared for her life during the Albert Park event.
“I genuinely thought if I fell to the floor I would never get up again, my children would lose their mother and my husband would lose his wife,” Parker posted on Twitter.
“My security saved my life today, no words can express my gratitude.”
Speaking to the Herald earlier today, Parker said had been advised not to give out further details about future events.
Parker describes herself as pro-women and does not believe trans women should be able to use women’s spaces like toilets or changing rooms. She had planned to speak at the Albert Park rotunda today as part of a controversial Australasian speaking tour.
A group of her supporters, which numbered about 150-200 people, were overwhelmingly outnumbered by about 2000 counter-protesters.
On the fringes of the protest, four black-clad young men wearing skull masks flashed Nazi salutes. Parker has attempted to distance herself from Far-Right groups, which also attended her rallies in Australia.
When Parker arrived at the rotunda, with a heavy security presence, a protester threw tomato soup over her head.
The protester, Eliana Rubashkyn, later told the Herald that the blood-red soup represented the harm Parker was doing to the trans community.
“She is not welcome here,” Rubashkyn said.
Counter-protesters pushed through a metal fence that separated the two groups and created adin with loudspeakers, foghorns, whistles and sirens, making it impossible for Parker to address the audience.
After about 20 minutes, Parker left without speaking, among a crush of people and surrounded by police officers. Some of her entourage scuffled briefly with counter-protesters. Clearly shell-shocked and with soup on her face and hair, she was escorted to a police car.
Parker said she had “never been as frightened” and felt that her life had been in danger.
The Act Party said it was a sad day for free speech and accused the counter-protesters of “violence and intimidation”.
Earlier, before Parker took to the stage, Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson - who was among the counter-protesters - was struck by a motorcycle, which she said failed to stop at a pedestrian crossing.
She had reported the incident to police and was seeing a doctor.
Police said they are making inquiries into a “collision between a motorcycle and a pedestrian near Albert Park today”.
A witness to the incident described the convoy of “speeding” bikes as supporters of Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki.
The witness said she became stuck in the middle of the road after the bikes sped up, while she was trying to cross.
Davidson then tried to help herbut was hurt when the handlebars of one of the bikes hit her in the stomach.
Shaneel Lal, an activist who helped organise the counter-protest, said Parker’s tour had galvanised support for trans people more than ever.
“I feel like there are many people in New Zealand who support trans people, however for a very long time they haven’t felt it is necessary to stand up and speak out.
“And I think what the visit of Posie Parker has done is lit a fire under everyone’s arse and they are coming out to stand with trans.”
It was a day during which culture wars spilled onto central Auckland’s streets.
Vision NZ, a political party led by Hannah Tamaki, held a simultaneous protest at Aotea Square. The rally opposed what it called “the sexualisation of children in our schools”, and speakers criticised trans athletes and the fact children were being taught at school about trans issues.
Destiny Church pastor Brian Tamaki appeared briefly at Albert Park to lend his support to Parker, but said the “main event” was at Aotea Square. A group of about 500, many clad in black, gathered there.
After seeing off Parker, counter-protesters set their sights on the Vision NZ event. Members of the Destiny Church-affiliated programme Man Up linked arms to prevent counter-protesters from entering the square.
The two groups then marched down Queen St with competing chants, and an occasional scuffle.