Conflicts & War

New Zealand police arrest 19 in anti-lockdown protests

Sydney, Australia, Aug 31 (EFE).- The New Zealand Police arrested 19 people who participated in anti-lockdown protests throughout the country on Tuesday.

Hard lockdowns have been imposed country-wide since mid-August due to an outbreak of the Covid-19 Delta variant.

The police dissolved around 10 small groups gathered in front of government and local council buildings in various locations across New Zealand, including in the city of Auckland, the epicenter of the outbreak and where 49 local infections were reported on Tuesday.

“While protest is a normal feature of a well-functioning democracy, Police have a low tolerance for anyone who deliberately ignores the restrictions in the current situation,” the New Zealand Police said in a statement.

The arrests occurred for failing to comply with national alert level 4 restrictions – the highest level.

The demonstrations took place on the last day of level 4 in almost every region as they ease into level 3, with the exception of the more than 1.6 million inhabitants of Auckland who will have to at least two more weeks at level 4.

New Zealand, which has one of the slowest vaccination rates of developed countries, has been recognized worldwide for its effective management of the pandemic, which consisted of closing its borders and carrying out hard and swift lockdowns.

The country, which reported on Monday that it is investigating its first probable death linked to the Pfizer vaccine, has fully vaccinated some 1.2 million of its 5 million residents and intends to finish its immunization campaign by the end of the year.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the oceanic country has registered more than 3,560 cases of Covid-19 and 26 deaths, including more than 650 active infections. EFE


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