Monday, February 26, 2024

New Zealand | Clashes during anti-purge demonstration inspired by Canadian convoys

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Cole Hanson
Cole Hanson
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(Wellington) New Zealand anti-vaccine protesters threw “disturbing material” at law enforcement on Tuesday, injuring three police officers, in a protest wracked by clashes that lasted for weeks.

Updated yesterday at 11:11 PM.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern denounced the “extremely shameful” scenes in response to the alleged acid attack and another incident in which a protester walked in a car toward law enforcement, before stopping to kill him a few centimeters away.

Tensions had risen somewhat the previous day, when police accused protesters of dumping human excrement on police who were erecting concrete dams around a protester camp.

According to the police, in the early hours of Tuesday morning (local time), the demonstrators tried to obstruct the agents who came to approach the barricades from the camp.

“At least three officers require medical attention after spraying protesters with an unknown substance,” the police said in their statement.

She added that “a person was arrested after trying to steer a car towards a group of police officers.”

Two weeks after starting their move, inspired by Canadian “convoys” against the restrictions, protesters continued to pour out this weekend despite calls from police urging them to leave.

The movement, made up of about 1,500 protesters, was initially anti-vaccine, but as it gained momentum, its demands became more numerous. Some protesters showed their affiliation with the far right, chanting messages against the government and the media.

Wellington residents have complained of being mistreated by protesters for wearing masks. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern condemned the “bullying and harassment” against them.

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New Zealand, with a population of five million, has recorded 53 coronavirus deaths since the start of the pandemic. On Monday, 2,377 new cases were identified.

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