New Zealand police have arrested a stranger who is alleged to smash the glass doors of the parliament with an axe on Wednesday. Although he did not attempt to enter the building, he has been charged with intentional damage and possession of an offensive weapon.
After a 31-year-old man was spotted with an axe outside the Parliament building, the New Zealand Police, known as the Beehive was called immediately to the parliament building, about 5:30 a.m. He was arrested in about 10 minutes, the police said in a statement.
“The man caused some damage to glass panels but did not attempt to enter the building,” the police said.
Attacks on the parliament and on lawmakers are rare in New Zealand, a country of 5 million people, where ministers and top officials walk freely and are often seen mixing with the public at shops and cafes in the capital, Wellington. If the person is found guilty, then he could face up to seven years in prison.
The Parliament officials are in the summer break at this time, fortunately, there was no possibility of any lawmaker getting injured during the incident. In another rare attack in 2019, Climate Change Minister James Shaw was punched in the face while walking to work. While he was walking towards the Parliament building, he was abruptly attacked by a stranger.
The incident prompted Ardern to warn that the easy accessibility of politicians in New Zealand should not be taken for granted. The parliament buildings are located in central Wellington, with many politicians walking and cycling through the streets to work.
The grounds of parliament are commonly used by locals to eat their lunch or enjoy the sunshine in Wellington’s central business district.
Tight security has been implemented around the Parliament to avoid such incidents to take place in the future. The culprit is arrested and an investigation is being made to know his intention for attacking the Parliament.