New Zealand authorities play Barry Manilow songs on loop to repel ‘freedom convoy’ protesters

Idea to make the Covid demonstrators ‘uncomfortable’ was floated by parliament speaker Trevor Mallard

Rituparna Chatterjee
Sunday 13 February 2022 15:26
Comments
Watch live as Canadian protests against vaccine mandates continue in Ottawa

Authorities in New Zealand are blasting out Barry Manilow’s greatest hits in an attempt to dislodge “Convoy for Freedom” protesters outside the country’s parliament.

Los Del Rio’s 1990s pop hit “Macarena” is also among tunes being played on a 15-minute loop to annoy demonstrators, who were inspired by Canada’s trucker protesters.

Hundreds of protesters arrived in the capital, Wellington, and blocked streets on Tuesday to voice opposition to coronavirus vaccine mandates.

The idea to make the protesters “uncomfortable” was floated by Parliament speaker Trevor Mallard, who suggested using a sound system to blast out vaccine messages and decades-old Manilow songs, reported the Associated Press. He also instructed that sprinklers be turned on them last week.

The protesters, undeterred, are responding to sprinklers by digging trenches and installing makeshift drainpipes to divert the water.

Protesters scattered bales of straw on the soaking ground, shouted and danced. One group performed an Indigenous Maori haka.

Police arrested 122 people, charging many with trespassing or obstruction on Thursday. So far they haven’t used riot gear or carried guns.

In one physical confrontation, a video of two female officers dragging a naked woman by her hair went viral. New Zealand police told AP they did not remove the woman’s clothing and that she had been naked for “some time” before her arrest.

“No-one who is here is here legally. 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,” Mallard told news organisation Stuff.

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

New Zealand had closed its borders and implemented strict lockdowns to limit the spread of the virus. The nation reported just 53 Covid-19 deaths among its population of five million.

Additional reporting by AP

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in