New Zealand truck protest supporters on Tuesday refused to leave and camped overnight inside the national parliament’s grounds in Wellington – picketing the parliament building in the capital again Wednesday.
Their ongoing protest comes after an estimated 1,000 vehicles, including trucks, motorbikes and cars ground Wellington to a standstill in a protest against the nation’s strict coronavirus restrictions, with a hardcore of protesters pledging to remain there “as long as it takes.”
Reports have also surfaced that others are planning to join the protest from across the country over the next few days, as New Zealanders voice their opposition to the mask mandate for pupils in schools and also the vaccination requirement for certain public sector jobs such as for doctors, teachers and military personnel.
Protestors could remain in place for some time as February is the last month of summer in New Zealand, meaning it is unlikely the protesters will be driven off by poor weather.
Police watch as protesters (L) occupy the grounds around the parliament building in Wellington on February 9, 2022, on the second day of demonstrations against Covid restrictions, inspired by a similar demonstration in Canada. (MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images)
While yesterday’s convoy was peaceful, the police – who numbered around 100 – stand accused of attempting to intimidate protestors with one rally attendee Sel Currie from Auckland suggesting the “police are trying to incite violence” but insisted the protestors will remain peaceful.
Three protesters aged 61, 57 and 50, have been arrested after allegedly trying to break through police lines and enter the Parliament, the New Zealand Herald reports.
Police report the trio have been charged with obstruction and trespass.
Hordes of vehicles blocked streets around New Zealand’s Parliament on Tuesday, in a protest mirroring others building around the world demanding an end to coronavirus restrictions and vaccine mandates. https://t.co/haqWykV3IF
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) February 8, 2022
However, the police have acknowledged that even though the other demonstrators are refusing to move their tents, this alone does not constitute a trespass offence.
Officially New Zealand’s ultra-left Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Speaker of the House have both refused to comment on whether the protesters should be removed or not, instead insisting it is a matter for New Zealand’s police.
Ardern also seemingly defended the presence of the anti-restrictions protestors’ saying: “People often protest on the front lawn of Parliament. It is part of New Zealand”.
Protesters occupy the grounds around the parliament building in Wellington on February 9, 2022, on the second day of demonstrations against Covid restrictions, inspired by a similar demonstration in Canada. (MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images)
Protester vehicles parked on the streets outside the parliament building (behind) in Wellington on February 8, 2022, during a demonstration against Covid restrictions (MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images)
Ardern has continually refused to meet with the protestors – who she supposedly has a duty to represent – to hear their concerns and yesterday suggested she was “too busy”.
An unidentified protestor speaking to the New Zealand Herald highlighted that support for ending the coronavirus mandates comes from across the political and social spectrum.
“I just look around the people who have joined this movement, representing every colour, creed, age bracket, all speaking in one voice to end the mandates”, the protestor said.