New Zealand’s Coronavirus Cops Fail to Disperse Freedom Convoy with 80s Music

Police (R) block off protesters as they occupy the grounds around the parliament building in Wellington on February 9, 2022, on the second day of demonstrations against Covid restrictions, inspired by a similar demonstration in Canada. (Photo by Marty MELVILLE / AFP) (Photo by MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images)
Photo by MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images

New Zealand’s freedom convoy has maintained its position outside the Parliament on Saturday despite varying police efforts to disperse them, including blasting the Macarena on loop, arrests, and even turning the garden sprinklers on.

After failing to deter a freedom convoy by attempting to arrest around 120 people on Thursday, New Zealand’s police officers have attempted to remove the protest of up to 1,500 people protest that has been in place in the Parliament’s grounds since Tuesday, with less orthodox police tactics.

Reports have emerged that the NZ authorities attempted to remove protestors by blasting them with pro-vaccine propaganda and also 80s and 90s classics such as the Macarena and Barry Manilow songs on repeat.

Protesters however responded by dancing to the music and blaring back their own songs such as the Twister Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take It, according to a report from The Telegraph.

Authorities also tried to shift the protesters – some of whom are camping within the Wellington Parliament’s grounds – by turning on the parliament lawn’s sprinklers, but protesters dug trenches and assembled plastic tubing to drain the water from the area and prevent it from affecting the campsite.

Wellington’s police have been forced to take a more relaxed approach with the protestors after footage went viral of them dragging a naked lady out of the protest by her hair on Thursday, which triggered widespread condemnation of the police.

The extreme police tactics reinvigorated the protest – as numbers on Thursday had dropped to around 200 from an initial thousand on the first day of the protest – with 1,500 people arriving to support the freedom convoy on Friday.

Despite Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern initially supporting the protest, saying, “People often protest on the front lawn of Parliament. It is part of New Zealand” — authorities quickly shifted their stance and declared that the protestors are in fact trespassing.

Convoy participants have challenged this order, questioning how they can trespass on public property, saying it belongs to the people as it had been paid for by the “blood of our forefathers on the battlefield” and “our taxes”.

Protestors, including those using their vehicles to block the roads around the Parliament, have committed to staying in place “as long as it takes” for the government to repeal coronavirus restrictions such as obligatory masks for children in schools and vaccine mandates for certain jobs such as healthcare workers.

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