Wellington’s ‘‘Freedom protest’’ ended in disgrace, most obviously for the protesters.
Rather than producing leaders to rationally explain themselves, their respectable centre evaporated, leaving the field to opportunist anarchists.
Perhaps they’d tried but were denied a platform?
Perhaps therein lies deeper disgrace: 23 days and no protester interviews besides thuggish soundbites or those dismayed at the protest’s decline.
No gesture from Government to hear those made homeless by employment mandates.
No offers from ‘‘impartial media’’ to bring such stories into their newsfeeds.
The closest the issue came to formal challenge or debate was the High Court quashing of mandates for police and defence forces.
This ruling bobbed momentarily above the media’s flotsam of derision towards the increasingly unruly demonstration, and was enough to persuade affected ex›police and defence staff to quit the protest lines.
Some protesters claimed they had been medically advised that known vaccine side›effects were incompatible with their pre›existing health conditions, yet they were denied Ministry of Health exemptions.
Some pointed to New Zealand’s Bill of Rights protection from forced medical procedures, claiming buck› passing to employer mandates was a legal loophole; that making workers choose the procedure or their livelihood was force.
Some stood by simple principles, like one Balclutha protester on February 26, who raised concerns about any mandated medical treatment arising from Pfizer, a company they pointed out was penalised $2.4 billion after the prescription opioid scandal.
Protesters cited ‘‘suppressed’’ international newsfeeds covering efforts to combat Covid›19 with alternative treatments by the developing world — who simply cannot afford vaccines — and the ‘‘suppression’’ of concerns over vaccine manufacturers’ methodology raised by recognised medical officials such as Dr Robert Malone.
The vaccine race had losers — last month Forbes reported $US140 billion stock losses as Moderna was finally eclipsed by Pfizer.
On February 26, Radio New Zealand broadcaster Kim Hill read an email from a New Zealand company which had a patent›ready treatment based on Niclosamide, following an interview with a University of Otago expert on non›vaccine treatments.
This company had not been granted Covid›19 government funding.
Evidently, the velvet gloves of Covid›19 kindness were off for media coverage of the “Freedom protest’’.
However, an op›ed such as this will be subject to current standards of ‘‘fair, balanced and unbiased’’ coverage.
The overwhelming majority of Western governments, health experts, pharma spokesmen and media platforms agree that vaccines and Covid›19 responses are safe and effective — and I am fully vaccinated.