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Inspired by the demonstrations in Canada, hundreds of people protest against mandatory vaccination and the strict restrictive measures imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic , in front of the New Zealand parliament, in the city of Wellington. This Tuesday (8), the protesters, who call themselves members of the “freedom train”, gathered before Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s first speech of the year.
According to the international press, protest participants held up posters asking freedom and promised to camp outside the parliament building, called the Beehive, until the lockdowns are lifted. The prime minister did not meet with the protesters and told journalists that they “do not represent the opinion of the majority”. “Most New Zealanders did everything they could to keep each other safe,” Ardern said.
Contrary to what has been heard in Europe, the official said that the pandemic will not end with the Ômicron variant and that New Zealand will have to prepare for more strains of the virus. Over the past two years, the Ardern government has imposed some of the toughest and longest-running restrictions.
Despite the low number of cases – in a country of 5 million people, there were 12 one thousand confirmed cases anddeaths -, the measures affected the lives of tens of thousands of New Zealand expatriates who were stranded outside the country and devastated tourism-dependent businesses. The prime minister’s approval ratings plummeted as vaccine delays the end of lockdowns. Last week, the government stated that the borders will open progressively from October.