Friday, December 3, 2021

New Zealanders Protest Against Covid-19 Government Mandates

New Zealand tightened its parliament’s security measures as approximately 3,000 people rallied to protest against Covid-19 vaccine mandates and lockdowns aimed to tackle the virus. Thousands of unmasked people gathered on the street, saying that they were not against vaccination but against the government mandates.

Sarah, a self-employed business owner, said that “the truth doesn’t mind being questioned”. “We don’t think the government can make a decision for every single person in this country about what goes in their body,” she added, describing herself as “vaccine-hesitant”.

All except two entrances to the parliament building, the Beehive, were closed for security measures. Many protesters carried signs and placards about vaccine mandates and lockdowns with messages such as “Freedom” and “Kiwis are not lab rats“. Some protesters were even waving Trump flags, censuring the media as “fake”. They strongly demanded the government to lift compulsory vaccination and lockdowns. 

“I will not be coerced and I will not be forced into taking something I don’t want in my body,” said a protester outside parliament. “I’m asking (the government) to give us back 2018. Simple as that. I want my freedoms back.”

Responding to the protest, Ardern said that “What we saw today was not representative of the vast bulk of New Zealanders.”

Initially, New Zealand succeed in battling the virus when it first emerged. However, as the new Delta variant begins to spread in the country earlier this year, it becomes a new battle for New Zealand to fight off.

Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, is forced to move its strategy from lockdowns to coexisting with the virus with higher vaccinations. Last month, the government regulated that health care workers like doctors, pharmacists, community nurses, etc must be fully vaccinated by December. Meanwhile, teachers and other educators must be fully vaccinated by January.

New Zealand still has the lowest COVID-19 cases in the world with under 8,000 cases reported so far and 32 deaths. Its populations who have been fully vaccinated have reached 65.2%.

Callesya Lovely
My name is Callesya Lovely and I am an International Relations student from Indonesia. I enjoy reading, writing and researching and I develop a keen interest in issues pertaining to international and domestic politics, such as human rights, international security, racial and gender equality, etc.

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