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    Senior Member Airbornesapper07's Avatar
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    Anti-vaccine mandate protesters are seen outside Parliament House in Wellington, New


    Anti-vaccine mandate protesters are seen outside Parliament House in Wellington, New Zealand, Wednesday, March 2, 2022. (AAP Image/Ben McKay)

    AUSTRALIA
    Anti-Mandate Protestors Clash With Police in New Zealand

    By Nina Nguyen
    March 3, 2022 Updated: March 3, 2022

    New Zealand police have dispersed anti-mandate protesters who had set up an encampment outside the country’s parliament, towing away vehicles and making dozens of arrests.
    Following three weeks of confrontations between the protesters and police at parliament, hundreds of officers in riot gear stormed the encampment on Wednesday morning, tearing down tents, using pepper spray and sponge bullets to disperse the protestors. They also towed away up to 50 vehicles and made 38 arrests.
    While many protesters retreated from the aggressive tactics, other demonstrators fought back, using water bottles, fire extinguishers, paint-filled projectiles, pitchforks, and chairs as weapons. They also set fire to tents, mattresses and chairs at the protest site.
    A total of 100 people have now been arrested in relation to the mandate protest’s violent end, with charges including arson, rioting and inciting violence.
    Seven NZ police officers were also hospitalised overnight on Wednesday with non-life-threatening injuries.
    “Police would once again like to thank the Wellington community for the support shown to our staff and for their patience with the disruption to our city,” a police statement on Thursday said.

    Prime Minister Jacinda Arden condemned the protest, saying, “it was an attack on our front-line police, it was an attack on our parliament, it was an attack on our values, and it was wrong.”
    She said the fires had destroyed, among other things, a children’s playground, which is open to the public on parliament grounds.
    “I was both angry and also deeply saddened to see parliament, your parliament, our parliament desecrated in that way.”

    NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the media with Minister Nanaia Mahuta in Hastings, New Zealand, on July 08, 2020 (Kerry Marshall/Getty Images)On Thursday, police set up a crime scene around Parliament grounds and surrounding areas as part of a significant investigation to track down those who committed arsons and other crimes during Wednesday’s protest.
    Aitken St remained closed to vehicles from Mulgrave St on Thursday evening, while Parliament’s grounds and parts of Hill St and Molesworth St were blocked. Police officers were stationed around the perimeters of the CBD area to monitor the grounds.

    Police commissioner Andrew Coster said the protest escalated over time: “In the last week, we have seen a changing mix in the makeup of the crowd, in particular, we have become concerned that those with good intentions have become outnumbered by those with a willingness to use violence to affect their means.”
    Protest leaders said in a statement the group was united in wanting mandates scrapped and to make their own informed choices regarding their health, free from coercion and punishment.
    They noted the vast majority of protesters had been well-behaved and had chosen to camp as a last resort after constructive talks were not progressing.
    “We are fighting for our standard of life. We want our sovereign right to our bodies,” anti-mandate activist Kate Siegert said.
    Registered nurse Julie Thompson, who has chosen not to get a COVID-19 vaccine, described the protest as “the end result of not talking to your people.”
    “It has galvanised people,” she told Reuters.

    The protest began as a stand against COVID-19 vaccine mandates but was later joined by groups calling for an end to all pandemic restrictions.
    Council contractors and NZ Defence Force personnel cleared the debris from the end of Lambton Quay on Wednesday night.
    New Zealand has imposed strict COVID-19 restrictions and border controls since the start of the pandemic. At present, it has 146,486 positive cases of COVID-19 in the community and has a double dose vaccination rate of 94 percent.


    Anti-Mandate Protestors Clash With Police in New Zealand (theepochtimes.com)

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