Police arrest convoy protesters in New Zealand Parliament


Wellington, New Zealand — On Thursday, police arrested dozens of protesters camp on the premises of the New Zealand Parliament on the third day of the convoy’s protest against the coronavirus order.

The arrest took place after Parliamentary Speaker Trevor Mallard took the unusual step of closing the site.

Police called in over 100 additional police officers from other parts of the country. Still, police seemed ready to wait, as police officers lined up and ordered people to leave, but they moved them forward very slowly.

By evening, police had arrested more than 120 people and charged many of them with trespassing or sabotage. Police wore protective vests, but did not carry riot equipment or guns. Some protesters were preparing to hunt down the third night.

Police said they told everyone because they were breaching.

“Police have repeatedly urged protesters to leave the premises and have begun driving people out of the precincts,” said Cory Parnell, commander of the Wellington district. “Police have granted people the right to protest, but this must be done in a way that does not unduly affect the general public.”

The protest began on Tuesday after more than 1,000 people driving cars and trucks in convoys inspired by protests in Canada and elsewhere gathered in Congress.

The number of protesters had dropped to hundreds by Thursday. Some of the protesters’ cars remained parked in the middle of the streets around Congress, forcing some streets to close. During the protests, the National Library and many cafes and bars in the area closed their doors.

Parliamentary grounds are often a place of peaceful protest, but large campouts are rare.

Usually at least some politicians come out to listen to protesters’ concerns, but politicians reconvened in Congress after summer vacation seem to be rarely united by not admitting protesters. It looked like. ..

Among the protesters’ complaints is the requirement that certain workers, such as teachers, doctors, nurses, police and military personnel, be vaccinated against COVID-19 in New Zealand. Many protesters also oppose the obligation of masks, such as among children over the age of eight in the store or in the classroom, and uphold the ideal of more “freedom.”

New Zealand escaped the worst pandemic after closing its borders, implementing strict blockades and limiting the spread of the virus. The country reports only 53 viral deaths in a population of 5 million.

However, some people are tired of the restrictions. Ardan said last week that the reopening of the border would phase out quarantine requirements for incoming travelers. About 77% of New Zealanders are vaccinated and Ardan also promises not to impose any further blockades.

Health officials report about 200 new virus cases daily as the outbreak of Omicron variants spreads. Currently, 16 people are hospitalized for the virus.

Wellington City Council spokesman Richard McLean hadn’t issued a vehicle illegally parked near Congress due to staff safety concerns, but reopened the road in a state of instability. He said he was considering options to do so. He said the council advised people to avoid the area.

Nick Perry

Associated Press

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