Protesters block National leader in building

National leader Christopher Luxon. Photo: Getty Images
National leader Christopher Luxon. Photo: Getty Images
National Party leader Christopher Luxon was stuck inside a building for nearly an hour this morning after protesters blocked the exit from a community meeting in Palmerston North.

The New Zealand Herald understands Luxon and a staff member were unable to leave the premises on Cuba St until shortly before midday because of a crowd of about 30 people.

The group were believed to be protesting against the Covid vaccine mandates.

No one was hurt, but the standoff ended only after the police intervened.

A police spokesperson confirmed staff were called to the Cuba St building and spoke to the protesters.

"Both those at the venue, and the protesters left without further incident. There were no arrests."

A spokesperson for Luxon said the National leader did not wish to comment.

Today's protest comes after a volatile few months for politicians, which seems to be largely driven by those disillusioned with the Government's Covid policies.

In November last year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was forced to hastily cancel a press conference in Whanganui because of a large group of anti-vaccine protesters.

At another protest in Paihia in January, Ardern's driver had to take evasive action on to a footpath to avoid a protester's car.

In February, the van the Prime Minister was travelling in was chased outside a Christchurch primary school. The crowd was shouting "shame on you" and "traitor", while holding signs saying the Prime Minister would be "put on trial".

That's a reference to a conspiracy theory that a cabal of world leaders are using Covid vaccines to commit a global genocide.

Similar signs were seen among the hundreds of protesters who camped at Parliament for several weeks in March, where death threats were made against politicians and journalists covering the occupation.

Several people have been charged with making death threats against the Prime Minister this term, as well as former National Party leader Simon Bridges in the last term.

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