About 2,000 people marched through Wellington to the New Zealand parliament on Tuesday to protest the country’s recent coronavirus vaccine mandate and strict lockdowns.
A mass of demonstrators gathered in Wellington’s Civic Square — some on foot and others on motorcycles — and made their way to the grounds of the New Zealand parliament building on November 9. Many protesters held signs with messages denouncing compulsory vaccine mandates and oppressive lockdown measures.
“Say no to medical apartheid. Freedom not fascism!” read one sign photographed by a Reuters journalist.
“They claimed an array of things like being segregated and the government having ‘trampled on the rights of New Zealanders,’” Radio New Zealand (RNZ), a public broadcaster, reported of Wellington’s protesters.
A separate group of people protested an ongoing coronavirus lockdown in Aukland earlier on November 9.
“About 50 protesters blocked the northern side of Auckland’s northern boundary [highway] this morning for more than one hour, bringing traffic to a halt,” RNZ reported.
Aukland is New Zealand’s most populous city, home to nearly 1.7 million residents. It is located 400 miles north of Wellington, New Zealand’s national capital. Both cities are situated on New Zealand’s North Island.
Police described Wellington’s protest on Tuesday as “largely peaceful” and “made no arrests,” according to RNZ.
Despite the demonstration’s lack of disturbances, police in the national capital told RNZ they would consider “follow-up enforcement action … in [the] coming days,” without providing further details.
Far-left New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke to reporters inside New Zealand’s parliament building on November 9. She addressed the 2,000 demonstrators gathered on the site’s grounds, who protested public health policies spearheaded by her left-wing government.
“What we saw today was not representative of the vast bulk of New Zealanders,” Arden claimed.
“[T]he prime minister has been facing growing political pressure and public protests to ease pandemic measures ahead of the Christmas holidays,” Reuters noted Tuesday of Arden.
“She plans to travel to Auckland on Wednesday [November 10] when the lockdown measures enforced on the city nearly three months ago ease. She is expected to face more protests during her visit,” according to the news agency.
New Zealand, with a naturally low and socially distanced population, currently has among the lowest coronavirus caseloads in the world with under 8,000 infections reported since the pandemic began in early 2020. Just 32 deaths have been reported in connection with the Chinese coronavirus during the same time period.
Prime Minister Arden has, until recently,
pursued a “zero-tolerance” approach toward coronavirus, ordering harsh lockdowns of entire cities over just a handful of new infections. Such was the case for Auckland on August 17, when it entered an ongoing, three-month lockdown after detecting a single new coronavirus infection.
New Zealand’s government issued a mandate on October 11 that “compels doctors, pharmacists, community nurses and many other healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated [against coronavirus] by December,” the Singapore-based CNA reported at the time. Teachers and other education sector workers in New Zealand have until January 2022 to receive a vaccine against the Chinese coronavirus.
New Zealand’s federal government told firefighters nationwide “they must receive their first Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus] vaccination by next week, or won’t be able to work,” RNZ reported on November 9.
“[Some] firefighters are frustrated that no proof of inoculation will be required as they are only being asked to make a declaration about their vaccination status,” the public broadcaster noted.
Content created by Gabrielle Reyes
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