New Zealand Police Clash With Anti-Vaccine Protesters

New Zealand Police clashed with anti-vaccine protesters inspired by the “siege of Ottawa” on the parliament grounds in Wellington on Feb. 10.

Police began an eviction operation to clear a protest camp that began on Feb. 8 as a copycat of the “Freedom Convoy” by truckers in Canadian capital Ottawa.

Over 100 officers have been called in, including from other districts, to assist in clearing the protesters who pitched tents and jammed the streets with semi-trailers and campervans, blocking traffic.

“While police acknowledges people’s right to protest, this needs to be conducted in a way that do not unfairly impact on the wider public,” police said in a statement.

However, protesters punched and kicked officers amid calls to lift the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Authorities closed the parliamentary precinct to the public to prevent more people from joining the protest.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told the protesters to “move on.”

“Every New Zealander has a right to protest, but there are also rules around what is able to happen on Parliament’s forecourt and of course we would expect that people have behaviors that don’t disrupt the ability of others to go on with their lives as well,” Ardern said.

“People have the right to protest but when that tips into affecting business, people’s ability to move, the ability of kids to go to school or the ability of emergency services to move around, obviously the police have to manage that,” Ardern further said.

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