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A huge crowd of people rallied in Auckland on Saturday against the government’s social discrimination restrictions imposed on the country’s largest city following the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus last month.
Local television footage showed a tightly crowded crowd, with many not wearing masks, with attendance estimates varying between one thousand and a few thousand people.
Public Television New Zealand cited the leader of the Advance New Zealand party, one of the organizers of the protests, “We believe that we are all here today because we believe we need to stand up for our rights.”
“Today we are all here because we believe it is time to get up and say, ‘We need to regain our rights and freedom.”
There were no immediate reports of arrest.
A nation of five million, New Zealand was successful in stopping the community broadcast of COVID-19, but a fresh outbreak in Auckland in August prompted the government to put the city back in lockdown.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who is facing a general election on 17 October, withdrew the restrictions earlier this month, but the city is still below the 2.5 level, which means no social gatherings of more than 10 people are allowed is. Masks are mandatory on public transport across the country.
On Saturday, New Zealand reported two new cases of the novel coronovirus, bringing the total number of infections from the beginning of the year to 1,444. Twenty-four people have died.