Council staff retreat to back room as 'aggressive' protesters enter office

Protestors objecting to TDC's vaccine pass requirement for libraries wrote slogans on the footpath and spat on windows.
Supplied
Protestors objecting to TDC's vaccine pass requirement for libraries wrote slogans on the footpath and spat on windows.

Staff at a council office retreated into a back room for safety after protesters entered the building, spitting on windows.

Several staff working at the Tasman District Council’s service centre in Tākaka were confronted by an “aggressive group” of about 20 people at about 11am on Tuesday, said TDC communications officer Tim O’Connell.

“Staff managed the situation extremely well, removing themselves into a back room,” O’Connell said.

Stuff understands from a resident that once inside the building, some protesters spat on windows, writing slogans with their saliva.

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When protesters moved outside, staff secured the doors, and the centre remained closed until 1pm, O’Connell said.

Slogans in chalk outside the service centre referenced the council's requirement for visitors to the region’s libraries to present a vaccine pass for entry from January 12.

The TDC was working to support its Tākaka staff, O’Connell said.

“[It was] quite a scary situation for them. We’re keeping in contact with them, make sure they have the right mechanisms in place.”

Staff at the TDC’s Takaka service centre retreated into a back room for safety when “aggressive” protesters entered the building. (File photo)
Virginia Woolf/Stuff
Staff at the TDC’s Takaka service centre retreated into a back room for safety when “aggressive” protesters entered the building. (File photo)

O’Connell was not aware of any council-aimed protests that had reached a similar level of aggression in the region.

A Tākaka resident, who asked not to be named, said council staff were “terrified and emotional” after the incident. He said the group of 20 to 30 protesters included children, who were also spitting on windows.

A police spokeswoman said police received a report around 11.20am on Tuesday of a group of about 20 protesters in the “vicinity of council and the library”.

However, by the time an officer reached the area, the group had moved on, she said.