Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of New Zealand on Tuesday to protest the newly elected conservative government’s policies towards the Maori population.
The demonstrations, backed by the Māori party Te Pāti Māori, were held particularly in Auckland and Wellington, marking the first test for Prime Minister Christopher Luxon.
Maori leaders accuse the Conservative Alliance of racist policies, including threatening a treaty protecting indigenous rights. They oppose plans to change the names of some departments from Māori to English and close the Māori health authority, Te Aka y Ora.
About 300 vehicles participated in the protests in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, where two people were arrested, according to police.
Demonstrations were also held in the capital, Wellington, before the opening session of the New Zealand Parliament.
This morning’s demonstration was more to mobilize our peopleRawiri Waititi, co-leader of the Te Pati Māori group, said in his speech Radio New Zealand.
About 600 people marched through the streets of Wellington, some draped in Maori flags, and holding banners calling on the government to…
Respect the treaty Waitangi, before the rally in front of Parliament.
The Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840 between the British Crown and Maori chiefs, guaranteed the rights of the indigenous people, who today represent 17% of the population.
This is about bringing our people together as one to protect the Treaty of Waitangi [texte] Which allows us to live here freelyRawiri Waititi added.
The center-right government led by the Conservative National Party was elected after the parliamentary elections that took place in October, succeeding the Labor government led by Jacinda Ardern until January.
The new prime minister responded to the protesters’ criticism
The truth is that we have been in government for a week. We will get things done for Māori and non-MāoriHe told reporters.
He swore an oath to King Charles III
Māori elected officials broke protocol during the opening of the parliamentary session on Tuesday in Wellington. They swore an oath of loyalty to their descendants and to the country’s founding document before King Charles III. Te Pati Māori believes the practice is reminiscent of Parliament’s colonial power over indigenous people and wants to abolish it.
source : Reuters
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