James Blunt music played to deter Parliament protesters

By 1news.co.nz and is republished with permission.

The anti-Covid vaccine mandate protest outside Parliament is into its sixth day on Sunday and is expected to continue into the week.

The capital’s heavy downpours and strong winds did little to deter the protesters, who camped out on the grounds overnight.

Protesters looked to be in happy spirits despite rain on Sunday with some people dancing.

Music was played over a loudspeaker from Parliament to deter protesters including songs from Celine Dion, Barry Manilow and James Blunt.

Blunt, a British musician had earlier Tweeted that New Zealand police could contact him if the sounds of Manilow weren’t enough to drive the protesters home.

The Ministry of Health has moved to quell rumours of possible Covid-19 cases linked to the protest.

In the ministry’s afternoon statement it says: “Wellington’s Regional Public Health Unit has confirmed that there are currently no notified positive cases linked to the protest. However, we encourage everyone to be vigilant and to get a test if they become unwell with symptoms of Covid-19”.

Heavy rain is lashing the capital on Sunday.

An orange heavy rain warning is in place, with 100 to 180mm of rainfall expected to accumulate.

A strong wind watch has also been issued for Wellington and the Marlborough Sounds until Sunday afternoon.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson opened up to Q+A on Sunday morning about his concerns around the toll the protests are taking on MPs’ families.

“The thing I think about in those moments, Jack, is not me. It’s my family. And the family of other politicians. They didn’t sign up for this. And I think it’s really important as New Zealanders, we take a breath,” Robertson said.

“I think all politicians have taken time to take stock of that exact question in recent times. The Prime Minister, as everyone will have seen, has been the subject of harassment and threats. All politicians have had more of those in recent times – I have.”

On Friday, a National spokesperson dismissed King’s actions, saying the party is “strongly pro-vaccination and does not support the actions or the anti-vaccination messages of those involved in Convoy 2022”.

“Everyone has a right to protest, but people shouldn’t be getting aggressive and violent, breaking rules or impinging on the freedoms of others.”

“These acts of property damage and harassment are unlawful,” a Government spokesperson said.

“The right to protest should always be protected but the damage and intimidation have gone too far.

“People have the choice not to get vaccinated from Covid-19, but they must respect the rights of those who do, who represent an overwhelming majority of New Zealand.

“As a Government, our focus remains on preparing for rising Omicron cases and getting more New Zealanders boosted to be as safe as possible.”

Wellington District Commander Superintendent Corrie Parnell said in a statement on Friday that police will continue to monitor and contain protest activity at Parliament grounds.

“Police have identified a range of different causes and motivations among the protesters, making it difficult to open clear and meaningful lines of communication,” he said.

“Misinformation, particularly on social media, has been identified as an issue.”

“Some factions are actively promoting false advice about people’s rights and police powers, which is misleading and factually incorrect.

“For example, the use of a particular word or phrase by an individual will not impact the arrest of anyone involved in unlawful activity.”

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