New Zealand sees the latest trucker convoy protesting mandates

You have to say one thing for the truckers in Canada’s freedom convoys who have been snarling traffic and forcing several provincial governments to back down on their vaccination mandates. They’re giving other people ideas and their tactics are quickly turning into a “movement” that is spreading far beyond their nation’s borders. This week the strategy showed up on the complete opposite side of the globe in New Zealand when a convoy of trucks and other vehicles showed up on the lawn of the grounds of Parliament in the capital city of Wellington. More than 1,000 people took part in the protest, which has stretched on for a couple of days, shutting down traffic in the area. Yesterday the government finally decided to act against the convoy, calling in more than 100 police officers from other parts of the country to make arrests and attempt to disperse the crowd. But they did so in a notably gentle fashion, apparently fearing the backlash that might result from beating down protesters with riot gear. (Washington Times)

Police on Thursday began arresting some of the protesters who have been camped out on Parliament’s grounds as a convoy protest against coronavirus mandates entered its third day.

The arrests came after Parliament Speaker Trevor Mallard took the rare step of closing the grounds.

Police called in more than 100 extra officers from other parts of the country. Still, police seemed prepared to wait it out as officers formed a line and ordered people to leave but didn’t advance on them, arresting mainly those who appeared to be unruly. Police wore protective vests but didn’t don riot gear or carry guns.

Up until now, the government had done little to nothing to tamp down the protest. They weren’t even issuing parking tickets for the vehicles that were regrettably blocking traffic in some areas. Members of Parliament refused to come outside to address the protesters and their concerns. But after some people began to leave and the total numbers diminished, they began making arrests.

The convoy participants were speaking out against a variety of COVID mandates issued by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s government. These include a requirement for some classes of workers to be vaccinated and face mask mandates for many people, including school children over the age of eight. (Is any of this sounding familiar yet?)

The people of New Zealand had previously seemed very tolerant of Ardern’s lockdowns and other measures designed to keep the novel coronavirus out of their country. Many were even openly supportive of the mandates. In fact, Ardern handily won reelection last year, running on her record of keeping the pandemic at bay. But now, more than two years into the plague, even the Kiwis seem to be growing tired of all of these restrictions and many are fighting back, using the Canadian freedom convoy as a template for their actions.

Will it work? Ardern has already admitted that she couldn’t keep the country shut down forever and announced last week that she will be dropping the quarantine requirement for people entering the country. She has also promised to not institute a new series of lockdowns if the virus becomes resurgent there. But those steps don’t seem to go far enough for everyone, and some are calling for all of the mandates to be removed.

How far will this freedom convoy idea spread? It already seems to be taking shape in the United States. Politico reported yesterday that a convoy heading for Washington was “picking up steam” and attracting participants from across the country. It will be interesting to see how both the White House and the mainstream media deal with a convoy showing up on Capitol Hill, particularly after the seemingly endless tolerance that was shown during the BLM protests and riots. The Canadian protests have thus far remained peaceful in nature and have not devolved into riots. If an American convoy is on the way to the Beltway, let’s hope that they follow that good example and stick to an exercise in free speech without sinking to the level of other movements and causing massive property damage or assaulting law enforcement officers.

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