‘Socially irresponsible freedom’ commandeers Capital

An estimated 5,000 people, Tuesday, took to Wellington’s streets protesting their freedom, and distrust of the government and media.

The vocally loud and unmasked protesters took over the Capital’s streets and pavements as they snaked their way from Wellington’s Civic Square, through Mercer and Willis Streets and down Lambton Quay to Parliament.

At one point it seemed there would be no end to the protest as more and more people just kept coming.

They were very loud.

A local business person told CathNews it was one of the largest protests in Wellington she has seen for a while.

The protestors’ message was clear.

They were freedom marchers; chanting a range of phrases in opposition to what they labelled an experimental Pfizer vaccine and the vaccine mandate.

They protested the lack of choice for other vaccines, and a strong distrust for Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.

The pro-Government and uninquiring role of the media also featured prominently in the protest; one placard saying the “Media is the virus”.

Many also opposed the vaccine roll-out for children, with one young person emblazoned in a hand-painted T-shirt reading: “My mother calls the shots”.

Others protested lockdowns, business closures, mental health and the rights of New Zealanders being trampled on.

One protester told CathNews she was there to support Aucklanders’ whose mental health is under pressure and their livelihoods in jeopardy.

“Jacinda’s not interested in Auckland, Aucklanders and their struggle.

“Her kindness is just for the cameras, and is fake”, she said.

Also among the protestors were a number of religious fundamentalists, claiming New Zealand had lost faith in a God who will protect us all.

Commenting on the role of pentecostal protest, senior lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Waikato, Fraser Macdonald says Pentecostals seem unwilling and are unable to accept epidemiological explanations and strategies.

“Pentecostals’ steadfast assertion that the raw power of the Holy Spirit will prevail over the principalities of darkness has run up against the cultural and environmental realities of the modern world”, he writes.

Macdonald’s comments were amplified, Tuesday by a protester who told CathNews: “They’ve removed Jesus from the Parliamentary prayer and the vaccine is all part of a new world order, Satin’s agenda”.

This fundamentalist pentecostal agenda is however at odds with mainstream churches; Cardinal John Dew again today is urging people to get vaccinated in order to help keep themselves and others safe.

Speaking with a Wellingtonian after the event, a woman said she’s re-thinking what pro-choice means.

“I’m pro-choice on everything.

“Choice is good, but these people really annoy me”, she volunteered.

“They’re making me think about what being pro-choice actually means.

“Do they have any sense of social responsibility?” she posed.

“This protest was just socially irresponsible”, she said through her mask.

Other reactions also condemned the protest, calling it “shocking” and those involved as having a “toxic underbelly”.

Among those reacting was Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who dismissed the participants, saying they did not represent the vast bulk of New Zealanders whom she thanked for getting vaccinated.

National’s leader, Judith Collins however was more moderate, saying some of the messages were unhelpful, but that the protesters highlighted an issue of trust.

“There are people who don’t trust the vaccine, who don’t trust Pfizer, and who don’t trust the Government”.

“It is best not to dismiss them, it is best to deal with their concerns”, said Collins.

On Monday, Singapore announced that anyone who is unvaccinated by choice will no longer receive free Covid-19 treatment.


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News category: New Zealand, Palmerston, Top Story.

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