A group of shouting protesters have chased the New Zealand prime minister’s van down a driveway as she visited a Christchurch primary school, amid tensions over increasingly volatile anti-vaccine mandate protests.
Jacinda Ardern, who was visiting a primary school in Christchurch, was met by a crowd of people shouting “shame on you” and “traitor”. Some held signs saying that the prime minister would be “put on trial” and “held responsible”, and one man brandished a fabricated arrest warrant – references to conspiracy theories that a cohort of world leaders and powerful people are secretly using vaccines to commit a genocide, and would soon be put on trial and hanged for treason.
Police officers formed a barrier to allow the prime minister to pass through.
TVNZ deputy political editor, Maiki Sherman, who was attending the event, reported that parents and teachers at the school were “visibly upset”. The incident came as the country reported 6,137 new cases of Covid-19, almost a doubling from the previous record, set one day earlier.
Anti-vaccine and anti-vaccine mandate protesters have been occupying New Zealand’s parliament grounds for more than two weeks and blocking a number of streets in Wellington’s central business district with their cars.