The Octagon in Dunedin has been taken over by protestors understood to not be leaving any time soon.
A small gathering of anti-mandate protesters set up tents and signs in The Octagon motivated by protestors who took over Wellington's Parliament Grounds largely influenced by far-right fake news show Counterspin allegedly linked to Guo Wengui’s disinformation network, anti-government group(s) such as Voices For Freedom and the Freedoms and Rights Coalition.
The group demonstrates strong opposition to the government's Covid-19 vaccine mandates, which has made life more restricted for the unvaccinated.
Image: Arthur Taylor in front of the anti-mandate occupation at The Octagon in Dunedin - Sam Hudson, thisquality
thisquality journalist Sam Hudson takes a look inside the occupation, agreeing to interview widely known public figure Arthur Taylor about why they're situated there.
Taylor has been in support of the set up at The Octagon and was influenced by the Canadian style Convoy protests imported into Aotearoa New Zealand, which has prompted conspiracy theories that the government has ignored its people's concerns about the regime of limitations and restrictions implied to the unvaccinated as vaccine passports became widely used through the pandemic. The resolution is they'll not leave until mandates are stopped.
“We've had some homeless come here that have got serious mental health problems. They seem to be a lot better when they leave. We're supporting each other. We're a community. We're like whānau now,” he said.
“We're prepared to stay here as long as it takes”.
Image: Hub tent with food and drink supplies. Signs are seen displaying anti-mandate and pro-choice messaging - Sam Hudson, thisquality
The site has a hub tent with food and drink supplies, a portaloo toilet, and a stage for people to speak through a microphone. It has grown significantly each day, with more tents set up on the grass.
It's understood the group does not plan to block surrounding roads. They're happy to cooperate with businesses and respect authorities for doing their job.
They'd pleaded that the Council approach them at any time if any issues need to be addressed surrounding their occupation.
Most individuals attending were not wearing masks and accepted others wearing a mask. Though, when Hudson attempted to interview others, he was told to take off his mask. Also told he couldn't be heard for wearing a mask. Hudson left without further incident.
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