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Hundreds of people in New Zealand are continuing to protest its government’s vaccine mandate, despite the government’s attempt to dissuade the protesters, as participants say they have been inspired by Canadian truckers protesting their own government more than 8,000 miles away.
At least 400 trucks, vans, and motorcycles were parked in front of the Parliament building in Wellington and a crowd of people continues to call for an end to coronavirus-related restrictions, which have effectively closed the country’s borders, Reuters reported.
“There has been an influx of protesters at Parliament today, including children. However, the crowd had been orderly,” Assistant Police Commissioner Richard Chambers told a group of reporters, Reuters reported.
Law enforcement officers attempting to clear the government building instructed the protesters to leave and said their vehicles could be towed from the area, officials said.
Chambers added: “This is a very complex situation and we are mindful of the tactics we need to take so that the situation is not escalated,” according to the report.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern rejected the demands of the protesters calling the demonstration an “imported” one, Reuters reported.
The protests have continued for nine days.
While anti-vaccine mandate protests have sprung up across the world, the idea for a protest directly affecting a government building may have been birthed from the “Freedom Convoy” in Ottawa protesting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau called the vehicular blockade in his country “illegal” and similarly criticized the protesters as a “small fringe minority of people who… do not represent the views of Canadians.”
On Tuesday, the Canadian government announced it would be easing travel restrictions, though it credits the change to “the actions of tens of millions of Canadians across the country who followed public health measures, including getting themselves and their families vaccinated.”
Travelers will, however, still be required to be fully vaccinated — a requirement the protesters want removed.
The New Zealand and Canadian protesters have committed no crimes, besides resisting instructions to discontinue, and their respective protests have not resulted in any injuries or looting.