After Ottawa, the New Zealand capital is in turn affected by a protest movement. A convoy of trucks and motorhomes blocked the streets around Parliament in Wellington on Tuesday, February 8 to protest against health measures and vaccination, a movement inspired by the one that paralyzes the capital of Canada.
Hundreds of vehicles, on which were posted messages such as “give us back our freedom” and “coercion is not consent”, parked in the streets near the Parliament. Hundreds more rode through downtown honking their horns and waving Canadian flags, as more than a thousand people listened to the speeches. The organizers of the convoy have not yet indicated how long they intend to stay in the city.
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Wellington resident Stu Main said protesters felt their concerns about their rights being rolled back were not being heard by the government. “I am vaccinated but I am against forcing people to do so”he explained to AFP, describing this policy as “scandalous”. Unlike the movements that affected the Canadian capital, this demonstration remained peaceful and the police did not report any arrests or major incidents.
End of inadmissibility
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she had no intention of speaking with those who took part in the operation, stressing that the majority of New Zealanders have shown their support for the government’s vaccination programme. “96% of New Zealanders have been vaccinated, allowing us to live with fewer restrictions today thanks to the extra protection it has given”she told Radio New Zealand.
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In New Zealand, vaccination against Covid-19 is mandatory for people working in certain sectors such as health, police, education and defence. A health pass system has come into effect, requiring people to prove their vaccination to enter restaurants, take part in sporting events or religious services. On the other hand, it is not compulsory in public transport, supermarkets, schools or to access health services.
Impasse in Ottawa
For its part, Canada accuses more than ten days of “siege” of its capital. The mayor of Ottawa has called on federal authorities for help in putting an end to the show of force by truck drivers against health measures, the subject of an urgent debate in Parliament on Monday evening.
” This must end “hammered Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, back in person in the House of Commons, after a week of isolation due to Covid-19. “This pandemic has sucked for all Canadians! »he scolded, visibly irritated by the protests. “But Canadians know the only way out is to keep listening to the science”, he added, before wiping out the reproaches of the opposition parties on his absence during the last days. For the Conservatives, he is responsible for a “division never seen in the country”. Despite an increasingly tense situation, the Prime Minister, currently housed in an undisclosed location, did not intervene after the weekend demonstrations, leaving his ministers to step up.
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“The federal government will respond”, he promised in the evening, without however announcing new measures, demanded by the authorities of the city of Ottawa. Its mayor, Jim Watson, thus asked Monday, February 7 for reinforcements from the federal state to put an end to the “siege” facing Ottawa and pleaded for the dispatch of 1,800 additional police officers.