New Zealand Protesters Clash With Police as Weeks Long Demonstration Drags on

New Zealand anti-vaccine protesters sprayed officers with a “stinging substance,” sending three to the hospital on Tuesday as tensions spilled over in a weeks-long protest.

The brief but intense confrontations erupted near the parliament while police moved roadblocks to contain a protest camp that clogged downtown Wellington for two weeks.

According to Police Assistant Commissioner Richard Chambers, the actions of some of the protesters were unacceptable and would be dealt with assertively.

 “The behavior of a certain group within the protest community is absolutely disgraceful… our focus remains on opening the roads up to Wellingtonians and doing our absolute best to restore peaceful protest,” Chambers said.

According to reports, one protester drove a car toward a police line, narrowly avoiding the officers, and some protesters had thrown human feces at the officers a day earlier.

“Police officers are going about their work as best they can to bring peace to the situation… there’s a group (of protesters) determined to bring violence and aggression — we can’t tolerate that,” Chambers added.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said protesters had taken things too far and needed to return home.

“What’s happening in Wellington is wrong,” Ardern said.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson also said the protesters had crossed the line.

 “Our streets have been blocked, our people have been harassed, our environment has been trashed. This is a protest that has gone well beyond what I think most New Zealanders would see as a peaceful protest — you’ve made your point, please leave now,” Robertson said.

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