Attacks on the police also drew backlash from Jacinda Ardern who called the acts ‘disgraceful’
Anti-vaccination protesters in Nouvelle-Zélande ramped up their attack on Tuesday with one of them driving towards a line of officers, stopping short of collision, as the police tightened the cordon around the convoy stationed near the parliament.
Three police officers were also taken to hospital after other protesters sprayed an unknown “stinging” substance at them. This happened a day after human faeces were thrown at the police.
Video posted on the internet showed a white car driving towards a group of officers, who got out of the way as people began shouting. The vehicle, in the video can be seen coming to a stop at the police line, with several officials subsequently pulling the driver out.
The driver was taken into custody for driving in a dangerous manner, PA signalé.
The police also arrested two demonstrators for hindering police’s pre-dawn operations, aimed at curtailing the protests, which is now entering the third week.
The latest clashes began after nearly 250 officers used forklifts to move concrete barriers into a tighter cordon around the perimeter occupied by the protesters in parliament lawns and nearby streets.
Police assistant commissioner Richard Chambers said the activities of some of the protesters opposing coronavirus vaccine mandates were unacceptable and that they will be handled assertively.
“Our focus remains on opening the roads up to Wellingtonians and doing our absolute best to restore peaceful protest,” Mr Chambers said. “The behaviour of a certain group within the protest community is absolutely disgraceful.”
The attacks on the police also drew backlash from prime minister Jacinda Ardern who called the act “disgraceful”, reported NZ Herald.
Speaking to the media, Mme Ardern a dit: “There are a group that are increasingly acting out in a violent way towards police officers who are only doing their job.”
All parties in parliament said they would not engage with those breaking the law in the occupation in Wellington at the moment, said Ardern adding that those who said the protests are peaceful, can now see that in some quarters, it is not, reported the outlet.
The protest began as a movement in Wellington to rally against vaccine mandates requiring certain workers, including teachers, doctors, nurses and military personnel to get inoculated against Covid-19.
While the protests have largely been well organised with demonstrators, setting up tents on the lawns outside parliament and trucking in portable toilets, the occupation has also attracted fringe elements, including far-right individuals, reported SBS News.
The protests come as the country observes its first big Covid-19 outbreak, with daily cases rising to 2,800 mardi. Since the pandemic, the country have reported only 56 deaths from the virus.