Hundreds of people protesting vaccine and mask mandates drove in convoy to New Zealand’s capital on Tuesday and converged outside Parliament as lawmakers reconvened after a summer break.
The mostly unmasked protesters had driven from around the country, and their vehicles clogged the central Wellington streets for hours as they got out to meet and speak on Parliament’s forecourt.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern elected not to meet with them as she delivered a speech to lawmakers outlining her priorities for the year.
Among the protesters’ grievances is the requirement in New Zealand that certain workers get vaccinated against the coronavirus, including teachers, doctors, nurses, police and military personnel.
Many protesters also oppose mask mandates — such as those in stores and among children over about age 8 in school classrooms — and champion the ideal of more “freedom.”
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