Thousands of people in New Zealand gathered in Auckland and several places across the country on Saturday to show solidarity against alleged government atrocities and in support of independence.
Auckland, with a population of around 1.7 million, continues under a government-set lockdown that limits movement, with the exception of a few “permitted reasons”.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern imposed a nationwide snap lockdown on 17 August in response to the country’s first case of a delta variant. Then she said in September that she was aiming for a 90 percent vaccination rate before she stopped ordering the lockdown. This includes the Māori and Pasifika populations, which would be difficult due to hesitancy, and those who choose not to receive the vaccine.
With the exception of Auckland, New Zealand has returned to some degree of normal operations, although the prospect of a new lockdown remains part of the government’s plan. On Sunday, Ardern announced another five-day snap lockdown for parts of regional Waikato after two new cases were detected.
Around 1,000 to 3,500 people gathered in the Auckland Domain around 11 a.m. on Saturday for a “Family Freedom Picnic” as well as a peaceful protest called a “mass stand” in front of the Auckland War Memorial Museum by organizers .
Families with children attended, setting up picnic blankets in the area. Several dozen motorcyclists arrived at the event in a motorbike convoy as part of their protest.
The event also featured tractors, who were protesting in support of farmers for the freedom to cultivate.
Thousands of others took part in similar small-scale peaceful protests in several New Zealand cities on Saturday, including Christchurch, Gisborne, Hamilton, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson, New Plymouth, Rotorua, Tauranga, Wellingen, Wakatane and Whangarei, the organization said. took.
A day before the event, a video surfaced from the organizer, Freedom and Rights Coalition, asking, “What is freedom?”
“Think about it: We’ve been locked in our homes for the past six weeks now, slaves to four walls—a prison inside our own homes, yet to blame for nothing. Before they take away all our freedoms, And how many lockdowns?” In the voiceover, a woman can be heard saying, “And who stole those liberties, you may ask? These are the people we should trust – the government.”
She says in the later part of the video, “If we don’t have the freedom to go to school, meet friends, socialize and choose whether we want vaccinations or not, what kind of life are we living now?
“If we do not stand up, what hope do our future generations have? What hope do we have as a nation if we do not stand? Take my freedom, you can also take my life. Will you stand by us?”
Ardern has urged all New Zealanders to get vaccinated to avoid further lockdown orders. But protesters said they did not agree with the government’s risk balancing.
So far, 78 per cent of those eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine have received a single dose, while 46 per cent have been fully vaccinated. Of those 65 and older, 82 percent are fully vaccinated with two doses.
Brian Tamaki, a member of the Freedom and Rights Coalition and leader of the Church of Destiny, took the stage at the event and spoke for about 40 minutes.
“The power is in the people. The power is not in the politicians,” he told the crowd.
Local media reported that police were monitoring the Auckland protest without any arrests or violations.
“If they remain peaceful, no one should be afraid of being arrested,” organizers of the event said ahead of time.
Claudia Wise, Auckland Council’s director of customer and community services, said that the council did not allow, endorse or support the event, Stuff.co.nudge reported. “While we respect people’s rights to peaceful protest, we have serious concerns that the gathering could result in the spread of COVID-19 and threaten the health of Aucklanders,” she said.
Organizers have planned at least two more similar protests—one on 16 October with two mass stands in Auckland and Christchurch, and another on 26 October with a mass stand in Wellington.
Ardern’s government is set to decide on 4 October whether to downgrade restrictions in Auckland. However, border rules preventing travel from Auckland are likely to remain in place, she warned.
Under current “Alert Level 3” restrictions, Auckland allows certain businesses and services to operate, including early education centers and schools for children up to age 10 whose parents or caregivers need to work. is required.
Weddings, civil union ceremonies, funerals, and gatherings of up to 10 people for tangihanga (a traditional Māori funeral rite) are permitted. Masks will be mandatory outside the house.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times