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New Zealand COVID vaccine protesters defy police ultimatum to leave parliament -Breaking


© Reuters. Demonstrators against vaccinations gather at the Parliament building in Wellington (New Zealand), February 16-2022. Photo by Reuters/via REUTERS


WELLINGTON (Reuters] – A large anti-vaccine mandate demonstration erupted outside New Zealand’s Parliament on Wednesday. Hundreds of protestors ignored a warning by police that their cars would be towed away if the did not vacate.

Protesters, inspired by the demonstrations of truckers in Canada, blocked roads around Wellington’s ‘Beehive’ parliament for nine days. They brought trucks, vans, and bikes and camped on the grasses directly in front.

There has been an inflow of demonstrators at Parliament today. The crowd had been ordered, however,” Richard Chambers Assistant Police Commissioner told reporters. Chambers estimated there were around 450 vehicles obstructing the site.

Chambers stated, “This situation is very complicated and we are conscious of the strategies we need to adopt so the situation doesn’t escalate.”

Protesters were given Tuesday by police an ultimatum: move or be seized.

Chambers claimed that police have made some progress in engaging the protest leaders on Wednesday and that about 12 vehicles were leaving voluntarily.

While the initial protest was against COVID-19 mandated vaccines, many groups have joined those who are calling for the removal of all restrictions on pandemics. They also call attention to social issues such censorship and the rights of ethnic Maori people. The protest drew thousands of people at its peak.

Jacinda Adern, the Prime Minister has described the demonstrations in New Zealand as “imported”, and rejected all calls to lift restrictions. New Zealand is currently experiencing an increase in COVID-19 patients due to Omicron.

The number of daily new cases is at an all-time high, more than 1100 were reported Wednesday following the lifting of restrictions this month.

New Zealand is a country with five million inhabitants. It has the lowest COVID-19 incidence rates in the entire world. There have been 53 deaths and 22300 infections reported by New Zealand.

The borders of the country are closed and tens to thousands of New Zealand expatriates have been cut off from their families.

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