May 16, 2022

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New Zealand anti-vaccine activists set fire to their camp after police evacuated their protest

New Zealand anti-vaccine activists set fire to their camp after police evacuated their protest

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Wellington (AFP) – Anti-vaccine protesters in New Zealand set fire to a camp set up in front of parliament for several weeks on Wednesday, and then launched a police operation to end the protests that led to clashes and dozens of arrests.

Hundreds of police officers took to the streets of Wellington at dawn to clear the roads around Parliament, which had been congested with protesters’ vehicles for more than three weeks.

Officers guarded with shields, pepper spray and water cannons shouted, “Move, move!” They removed the ropes and used a forklift to remove the obstacles on the streets.

Clashes erupted when protesters hurled pepper spray at protesters.

The police used the deaf sound cannon and high pressure water to dissolve the crowd.

When the police brought into the situation, the protesters have chosen to fire the camp for a few weeks ago. “It’s not over,” one shouted, while the others chanted “shame” to the authorities.

Prime Minister Jacinta Artern supported the police action and condemned the “desecration” of parliamentary land.

“This is an attack on our police, this is an attack on our parliament, this is an attack on our values,” Artern told reporters, hundreds of meters from where the fighting continued.

In the afternoon, they have achieved “significant improvement” in the afternoon, some protesters said that the police had been armed with pitchfords.

“Today we saw tactics (by protesters) including the use of firearms, paint and weapons on police,” police commissioner Andrew Coaster said, adding that three officers sustained minor injuries and 36 were arrested.

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Artern said the movement began as a fight against compulsory vaccination for certain events inspired by a similar demonstration in Canada, but turned toxic.

He assured that the protesters represent a small sector that has been provoked by terrorism by conspiracy theories and misinformation.