Thousands gathered on Tuesday at New Zealand’s Parliament, in Wellington, to protest COVID vaccine mandates and other strong restrictions imposed in the Oceania country during the pandemic.
In significant police presence, demonstrators carried signs with messages such as “Freedom,” “No more control,” or “My body, My choice,” as seen in local media footage.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has heavily criticized in the peaceful demonstration, during which many protesters flew banners in support of former President Donald Trump.
The Prime Minister, who from the onset of the pandemic opted for harsh restrictions such as the closing of borders or selective confinements to eliminate COVID-19, announced last month that she would make the vaccine mandatory for workers who are in contact with clients, as well as teachers and health sector personnel.
New Zealand, one of the countries that has fought most effectively against the new coronavirus, has only had about 7,650 people infected and 32 dead since the start of the pandemic.
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The latest figures reveal that about 80 percent of the population is already fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The government announced on Tuesday the beginning of the process of reopening Auckland, the most populous city in the country, although it will maintain restrictions until the 29th.