On Thursday, Feb. 10, following three days of protests on the grounds of New Zealand’s parliament, inspired by the ongoing Freedom Convoy protests currently gripping Canada, Wellington Police arrested more than 120 protesters, ABC News reported.
The arrests followed Parliament Speaker, Trevor Mallard, closing the grounds giving authorities the ability to charge protesters with trespassing. The police employed the assistance of more than 100 extra officers from other parts of the country.
Many of those arrested, who pitched tents on the grounds of the parliament, were charged with trespassing as well as obstruction.
Superintendent Corrie Parnell, the Wellington district commander said, “Police have appealed repeatedly to protestors to leave the grounds and have begun evicting people from the precinct. While police acknowledge people’s right to protest, this needs to be conducted in a way that does not unfairly impact on the wider public.”
The protests formed on Tuesday that saw more than 1,000 people, as well as numerous vehicles, inundate the New Zealand Parliament however the crowds dwindled to a couple of hundred protesters by Thursday.
Some streets around parliament were forced to close due to the dissent and the National Library and many cafes and bars in the area closed their doors during the protest.
The protesters’ grievances include opposition to a vaccine mandate for teachers, doctors, nurses, police and military as well as mask mandates in stores and among children over age of eight in classrooms.
While New Zealand was spared the worst of the pandemic, having recorded just 53 virus deaths among its population of 5-million, the country implemented some of the most stringent COVID-19 health measures of any developed nation.
The country closed its borders, implemented strict lockdowns, and incarcerated its citizens in quarantine facilities.
The country is growing weary with the restrictions though. With approximately 77 percent of New Zealanders vaccinated, many believe it’s time to move forward, end the health measures and learn to live with the virus.