New Zealand will lift COVID-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions after the Omicron peak has passed, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said, as protesters occupying the parliament grounds again clashed with police. Reuters has the story.
Inspired by truckers’ demonstrations in Canada, thousands of protesters have blocked streets near the parliament in the capital Wellington for two weeks with trucks, cars and motorcycles, piling pressure on the Government to scrap vaccine mandates.
Ardern refused to set a hard date, but said there would be a narrowing of vaccine requirements after Omicron reaches a peak, which is expected in mid to late March.
“We all want to go back to the way life was. And we will, I suspect sooner than you think,” Ardern said at a weekly news conference.
“But when that happens, it will be because easing restrictions won’t compromise the lives of thousands of people – not because you demanded it,” she said, addressing protestors.
Leaders can, to save face, claim that it’s not because of the protests, but the truth is the protests have reminded governments that they cannot expect to ride roughshod over people’s liberties and bodily autonomy and face no backlash or disruption. Now let’s see if the protestors can keep the pressure on and bring the end-date forward and ensure the lifting is comprehensive.
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