Following a similar demonstration in Canada, a convoy of trucks and campervans blocked streets near New Zealand’s parliament in Wellington on Tuesday to protest Covid restrictions and vaccinations.
The convoy for freedom protesters have travelled from all around New Zealand and blocked streets around New Zealand’s parliament in Wellington, ahead of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s first speech of the year. Up to 2,000 protesters attended on foot. Some were seen waving Canadian flags in apparent support of the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa.
Protesters believed their concerns about rights being eroded were not being heard by the government, according to Wellington resident Stu Main, France 24 reports.
“I’m actually vaccinated but I’m against mandating people to be vaccinated,” he said. “I think it’s disgraceful, forcing vaccination on people who don’t want it.”
Much like her counterpart Justin Trudeau did in Canada, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has refused to discuss matters with convoy participants and told reporters later that the protesters did not represent the majority view, according to Reuters.
“I think it would be wrong to in any way characterize what we’ve seen outside as a representation of the majority,” Ardern told reporters. “The majority of New Zealanders have done everything they can to keep one another safe.”
Covid vaccines are required in New Zealand for various occupations, including health, law enforcement, education, and defence. A pass system is also in force, with people required to show proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, sports events and religious services.