New Zealand protesters block streets outside parliament

Reuters

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WELLINGTON, Feb 8 (Reuters) – Hundreds of people protesting vaccine mandates and pandemic restrictions blocked streets outside New Zealand’s parliament on Tuesday with trucks and campervans, inspired by similar demonstrations in Canada.

The “convoy for freedom” protesters arrived from all corners of New Zealand and gathered outside the parliament building in the capital Wellington, called the Beehive, ahead of the first speech for the year by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.Advertisement · Scroll to continue

The protesters were largely unmasked, held placards calling for “freedom” and vowed to camp outside parliament until the COVID-19 curbs are lifted. The protests, which may run for days, is inspired by the ongoing truckers blockade in the Canadian capital Ottawa against strict government measures to fight the pandemic.

Ardern did not meet the protesters, and told reporters later that the protesters did not represent the majority view.Advertisement · Scroll to continue

“I think it would be wrong to in any way characterise what we’ve seen outside as a representation of the majority,” Ardern said at a news conference.

“The majority of New Zealanders have done everything they can to keep one another safe.”

Anti-vaccine mandate protesters gather to demonstrate in front of the parliament, in Wellington
New Zealand protesters clash with police outside parliament, in Wellington
Anti-vaccine mandate protesters gather to demonstrate in front of the parliament, in Wellington

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Anti-vaccine mandate protesters clash with police in front of the parliament in Wellington, New Zealand, February 10, 2022. REUTERS/Praveen Menon

In her first parliamentary speech for the year earlier in the day, Ardern told lawmakers that the COVID-19 pandemic will not end with the Omicron variant and New Zealand will have to prepare for more variants of the virus this year.

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