Mixed reaction to protests


REPORT, PHOTO: NICK.BROOK@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

Anti›mandate activists made their presence felt in Balclutha on Friday, voicing support for demonstrators occupying Parliament land in Wellington.

Drivers sounded horns or appeared angry at the inconvenience, and pedestrian onlookers expressed a variety of opinions for and against the local demonstrators, while some declined to comment.

One onlooker, who wore a mask and said she was triple›vaccinated, remarked on the scale of the national protests, but asked not to be named.

‘‘Yesterday[the Prime Minister] said asking questions was a problem, and that the protests were small fry, but this morning her own police chief said they’re unprecedented.’’

A protester, who also asked not to be named, said government mandates requiring vaccination were ‘‘just a symptom’’.

‘‘Mandates are just a symptom. Deep down, every New Zealander who is worried the Government is using the pandemic to grab more power supports our protest.’’

The vaccine has been deemed safe and effective by the vast majority of experts, in New Zealand and globally.

At the time of writing, 94% of New Zealanders aged over 12 years are fully vaccinated.

The first new cases of Covid›19 in Dunedin, Queenstown, Gore and Invercargill since April 2020 were reported last week.