Auckland library closes after drag queen storytime protest

A protest at a "drag storytime" event in Auckland has forced a library to close for the rest of the day.

Protesters arrived at Avondale Library to object to an event which featured drag queen Medulla Oblongata reading to children at 10am this morning.

Video posted to social media shows a group of around three people arriving at the library, holding signs.

One placard reads "HANDS OFF OUR CHILDREN".

Two police officers can be seen in the footage talking to demonstrators.

One person can be heard loudly saying "we've asked them to stop grooming children".

"This is sexualisation of children, you should arrest them."

Darryl Soljan, Auckland Council's head of community delivery for north and west, said the organisation is "proud to host Drag Storytime events".

"Our libraries are vibrant community spaces, where everyone is welcome, without judgement or prejudice," he told 1News.

"These fun and child-friendly events focus on the magic of storytelling, with readers and performers who are members of our community too."

Soljan said that those who don't want to participate in the event are still welcome to use the library, or visit at another time.

"While the children were not disturbed, and the storyteller was safely escorted from the library, today's activity at Avondale Library was distressing for our team. We have chosen to remain closed for the rest of the day."

Medulla told 1News they'd been prepared for the protest, so it wasn't a surprise.

They said that the protest had scared the children at the event.

"They were very visibly distressed, after they (the protesters) were pushed out we carried on, and they were against the window with the sign, and we had to close the blinds."

Medulla said the event was intending to teach children that "anything is possible", and the demonstration is a stark reminder of the work still needing to be done.

"They remind us why we have pride, why it's important to celebrate pride month.

"We've become complacent, the fight isn't over."

In a statement police said they were aware of the protest activity beforehand and "monitored accordingly".

"Police recognise the lawful right to protest, however were in attendance and stepped in when required to minimise disruption to the wider public.

"Three people were spoken to by police and were asked to move on.

"We are not aware of any further issues."


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