Police dealing with anti-vaccine protesters in New Zealand’s capital are unhappy with lawmakers playing pop songs in a bid to clean up the area around parliament
Efforts to extricate New Zealand anti-vaccine protesters by blasting Barry Manilow songs on a loop have drawn criticism from police officers caught in the crossfire.
Hundreds of protesters – inspired by the “Freedom Convoy” of truckers in Canada – camped out on the lawns of Parliament for a week, ignoring calls from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday to “go home and take your children”.
Wellington’s Chief Constable, Superintendent Corrie Parnell, was not amused by the tongue-in-cheek tactics deployed by Parliament officials, which appear to have bolstered protesters’ resolve not to budge.
“But it happened, so we have to face what we have in front of us.”
He also defended the hands-off approach taken by police since Thursday, when officers attempted to forcibly clear lawns, leading to violent clashes and more than 120 arrests.
While the initial convoy was promoted as a protest against vaccination mandates, Ardern said it was clearly now dominated by anti-vaccination activists.
“That includes shouting abuse at people walking around in masks…there are signs calling for politicians to be executed…we’ve seen horrific behavior there.”
“Mallard’s actions are unedifying, embarrassing and ineffective,” National Party MP Chris Bishop tweeted.
“Not only are Mallard’s antics immature, not only ineffective, but they have made a serious situation even worse,” he said.