Clashes and arrests of anti-vaccine protesters in New Zealand

Clashes and arrests of anti-vaccine protesters in New Zealand

The security forces intervened to disperse this gathering, especially to dismantle the improvised camp that was erected near the parliament. As Maori activists sang the haka, chanting “Stand Your Stand” in the face of the police advance.

The latter, who warned about 150 protesters that they risked arrest if they did not leave, was punched and kicked while insulting them with slogans such as ‘It is not a democracy’And “shame on you” or “Abandoning the obligation”.

The rally, which began on Tuesday, echoed the “caravan of freedom” that Canadian truck drivers began at the end of January to denounce the vaccination duty to cross the border with the United States. After leaving Vancouver, they had been laying siege to the capital, Ottawa, for a week and inspired similar moves in other countries.

In New Zealand, hundreds of caravanserais and trucks closed down Wellington’s Parliament District on Tuesday. Most of them left after 24 hours but a solid core remained determined to stay there “As long as necessary”.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said residents’ patience with the disruption caused by this mobilization had been exhausted and the police had to step in.

“City streets have closed, shops and businesses have been forced to close, and people feel threatened and intimidated by some protesters”He told Radio New Zealand before the police move, for which a hundred reinforcements were sent.

Residents of the capital have complained of being attacked for wearing protective masks and many businesses close to Parliament have had to close because their employees are asking to check health cards.

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Wellington Town Hall has warned that its agents will start issuing tickets for vehicles blocking streets as part of the mobilization of anti-sanitary measures.

“The police recognize the right of people to demonstrate but it must be done in a way that does not unfairly affect the general public.”Cory Parnell, Wellington Police Chief, commented.

A woman, who declined to be named, accused the police of provoking the crowd. It was a peaceful protest, and what they did is a disgrace.”

‘I never imagined seeing this in New Zealand’she added.

New Zealand has made vaccination against Covid-19 mandatory for people working in the health, police, education and defense sectors. Those who refuse face the risk of dismissal. Proof of vaccination is required at restaurants, sporting events, and religious services.

According to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, ‘96% of New Zealanders have been vaccinated’.

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