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'There is racism here and something needs to be done about it', say NZ Black Lives Matter protestors

Protestors at the Black Lives Matter march in Auckland this afternoon want something done about racism and the arming of police in New Zealand.

Black Lives Matter protestors hold up signs in Auckland's Aotea Square. . Source: 1 NEWS

Thousands of people gathered at Auckland's Aotea Square today following the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd last week.

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Thousands took to the streets on our major cities this afternoon, protesting against police brutality and racism. Source: 1 NEWS

Crowds also gathered in marchs across Christchurch and Wellington, speading a message that racism needs to end.

Floyd died when a police officer kneeled on his neck earlier this week. Derek Chauvin has since been charged with his murder.

"We just think people need to acknowledge that there is racism problem here in New Zealand," an unnamed Auckland protestor told 1 NEWS. 

She said change "needs to come from the top, it needs to be a leadership thing".

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Kiwis in our biggest city joined the thousands around the world showing solidarity after the death of George Floyd. Source: 1 NEWS

"Black lives matter" was chanted ahead of the march from Aotea Square to the US Consulate General on Customs Street. 

Eleanor Hoponoa, originally from Tonga, joined Auckland protests with a member of her family in solidarity with those in the US.

"There is racism here and something needs to be done about it," she told 1 NEWS. 

"Because I’m a person of colour and I wouldn’t want to go though what they have been through," she said. 

Ms Hoponoa was also protesting police carrrying guns. 

Black Lives Matter protesters gather at Auckland's Aotea square as a response to the killing of George Floyd. Source: 1 NEWS

"We don’t agree with police being armed," Ms Hoponoa said.

"It seems to coincide with where people of colour live and that’s really unfair."

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"We don’t want what’s happening in America to happen here."

Yesterday, Green Party MP Golriz Ghahraman weighed into the debate saying on Twitter that "police disproportionately use force against Māori and Pasifika people".

Green MP weighs into racism debate saying Māori and Pasifika victims are unfairly targeted by NZ police

Police traffic control blocked access to Queen St to make way for the protest, with marchers peacefully walking from Aotea Square to the United States Consulate on Customs Street.