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12 Feb, 2022 17:59

New Zealand uses unusual tactics to flush out anti-mandate protesters

The parliament speaker used sprinklers and blasted annoying music to scare away demonstrators camping outside
New Zealand uses unusual tactics to flush out anti-mandate protesters

Hundreds of anti-vaccine mandate protesters camped outside New Zealand’s parliament in the capital city of Wellington throughout Saturday, despite the authorities’ unconventional techniques to flush them out.

The parliament speaker, Trevor Mallard, said he ordered the sprinkler system to be turned on to flood the lawn where the protesters set up camp. The use of sprinklers in addition to heavy rain turned the lawn outside the parliament into a muddy field, videos from the scene show.

“I ordered them on,” Mallard said as quoted by local media. “No one who is here is here legally, and if they’re getting wet from below as well as above, they’re likely to be a little bit less comfortable and more likely to go home.”

"Some people have suggested we add the vaccine in the water, but I don’t think it works that way," he added.

The protesters, however, were not deterred, and were seen digging trenches and installing makeshift piping to redirect the water into storm drains. They also mocked the speaker, putting toy mallard ducks into the puddles, photos show.

With the sprinklers proving ineffective, Mallard came up with a new idea – blasting loud music through the parliament’s loudspeaker system on a loop. The playlist included songs by Barry Manilow, ‘Macarena’ by Los Del Rio, as well as a mix of coronavirus-related ads. 

Mallard told Stuff on Saturday that the methods were approved by local residents and claimed the protest was “clearly being orchestrated by neo-Nazis.” He alleged that “young people and old people and disabled people are being abused, having rubbish thrown at them, spat on” by the anti-mandate activists. 

The unconventional tactics received mixed reactions on social media. Some offered recommendations for other annoying songs to play. Others, however, condemned the official’s behavior as “childish” and “petty.” 

The protest at New Zealand’s parliament is continuing for the fifth day, with around 1,000 camping outside, according to local media estimates. The protest kicked off on Tuesday, when two Canada-style ‘Freedom Convoys’ reached the capital. Dozens of people were arrested outside the parliament in the following days when police tried to dislodge the protesters by force.