'Freedom Caravan': Trucks block Parliament in New Zealand, Ottawa at a standstill

‘Freedom Caravan’: Trucks block Parliament in New Zealand, Ottawa at a standstill

Inspired by the Canadian movement, a convoy of trucks intercepted the New Zealand Parliament in Wellington on Tuesday to protest health and vaccination measures. In Ottawa, hundreds of trucks paralyzed the city for more than ten days.

A convoy of trucks and mobile homes blocked streets around New Zealand’s parliament in Wellington on Tuesday to protest health measures and vaccinations, a movement inspired by the movement that paralyzed the Canadian capital. Hundreds of vehicles decorated with messages such as “Give us our freedom back” and “Coercion is not consent,” parked on streets near Parliament.

Hundreds more marched through the city center honking car horns while more than a thousand people listened to sermons. Stu Mayne, a Wellington resident, said the protesters’ concerns about stepping back on their rights had not been heard by the government. “I am vaccinated, but I am against forcing people to do so,” he told AFP, describing the policy as “disgraceful.” The protest remained peaceful, and the police did not report any arrests or major incidents.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she had no intention of speaking with those involved in the process, stressing that the majority of New Zealanders had shown their support for the government’s vaccination programme. “96% of New Zealanders have been vaccinated from New Zealand, which allows us to live today with fewer restrictions thanks to the extra protection it offers” .

Trouble in Ottawa

Overwhelmed by the hundreds of trucks that have blockaded the Canadian capital for more than ten days, the mayor of Ottawa has called on federal authorities to help put an end to truckers’ show of force against the measures. Health facilities, the subject of an urgent debate in Parliament on Monday evening.

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“It has to stop,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, again in person in the House of Commons, after a week of isolation due to Covid. “This pandemic has taken in all Canadians!” he said, visibly angry at the protests. “But Canadians know the only way out is to keep listening to the science,” he added, before facing criticism from opposition parties for his absence in recent years. For conservatives, he is responsible for an “unprecedented division in the country”. Despite the increasingly tense situation, the prime minister, currently residing in an unknown location, did not intervene after the weekend demonstrations, leaving his ministers to escalate.

He promised in the evening that “the federal government will respond” without announcing new measures demanded by the Ottawa city authorities. The city’s mayor, Jim Watson, on Monday requested reinforcements from the federal state to end the “siege” facing Ottawa and called for an additional 1,800 police officers.

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