Wellington has faced traffic delays and closed streets since February 8 as protesters – inspired by the so-called ‘freedom convoy‘ in Canada – parked cars, vans and campervans near parliament in order to protest about Covid 19 laws.
The protest was organised by a group called the Freedom and Rights Coalition and started with just a few hundred people. However, other groups have joined the protest and numbers grew to about 3,000 by the 14th of February. Then, as the protests became more unruly, other people joined the protest who are perhaps only looking for trouble.
This week, schools and businesses in the area have had to close because it is too difficult for people to travel through the area. People are camping in the protest zone and there is a problem with raw sewerage. It is difficult to find a place to wash. The protest area is starting to smell really bad, and people are getting sick. Some of the people in the crowd have come down sick with omicron. Also, there has been an increase in crime. People in the protests have been assaulted, and some people threw pooh at the police. One man drove a car towards the police, trying to run them over.
The police do not want to fight with the protestors, so are taking a long time to move them out. They are worried that if they use force to move the protestors, it might attract more concerns about freedom and human rights.
There is an online petition asking the protestors to stop. A petition is a document where many people sign a request, and hope that the large number of signatories will cause the request to be taken seriously. If you would like to sign the petition, you can find it here.
traffic delays: problems on the road that slow travel
so-called: an adjective to describe a name that is (in the opinion of the writer) inappropriate
convoy: a group of trucks
campervan: a small truck or van that people can live in, usually for holidays
coalition: a group of organisations that cooperate with each other
unruly: wild, disobeying the law
raw sewerage: excrement that has not been treated with any chemicals to kill bacteria
come down (sick): to become sick
pooh: faeces (formal), shit (slightly offensive slang)
run (someone) over: drive a car/truck over a person
use force: fight, use violence
signatories: people who sign a document
take seriously: If you take a message seriously, you really stop and think about it. If you don’t take a message seriously, you might laugh, or ignore, the message.