A group of protesters unhappy with the Government's current alert levels made their presence felt in Rotorua today.The protesters gathered at Te Manawa, the intersection of Hinemoa and Tutanekai Sts, in an attempt to gain support for their "anti-lockdown" message.
The signs they carried covered a range of topics including "freedom is essential", "it's not about your health, it's about control", "paedophilia the real virus" and "ban 1080".
Many of the protesters claimed to be supporters of the Advance NZ political party.
One of the organisers, Crystaline Verhagen, said the protest was a freedom march for all of Rotorua.
"It's against lockdown and it's about our freedom to be able to choose if we want vaccinations, if we want 5G and if we want to be in lockdown.
"It's only the flu season, there's no need for lockdowns, there's no need for masks. People are actually killing themselves by wearing masks because they're breathing in their own toxins.
"[The Government] just want us all sick, that's why they're asking us to do it, to become more sick. If masks work, why do we need to be two metres apart? I haven't taken medicine for 30 years and we're healthy people, we don't take vaccinations and we filter our water."
She said the public response to the protest had been "very good".
"Only the silly people wearing masks tell us to 'get real'."
Hubert Verhagen said his grandad lived to 104.
"I asked him how he got to live so long and he said 'keep smiling and breathing'. Just breathe and smile and be heard."
Another protester Jordyn Barbour said she and her husband usually sell organic produce at the Rotorua Farmers' Market, which is not allowed to continue under alert level 2 restrictions.
"These lockdowns have a financial impact but it also affects people's mental health. There's unemployment, people can't survive. This cannot continue, there has to be a better way. We can't have the economy ruined because a ruined economy ruins lives anyway," she said.
The Ministry of Health website says wearing a mask or face covering can reduce the risk of people who have Covid-19 spreading the virus to others.
"They may feel well or have no obvious symptoms. A mask or face covering can help stop infectious droplets spreading when they speak, laugh, cough or sneeze. This is referred to as 'source control'.
"Masks and face coverings can be useful if there is known community transmission and people are near each other (less than two metres apart). For example, in shops or other confined or crowded environments."
The website also says anyone who has been in close contact with a confirmed or probable case of Covid-19 should self-isolate.
"If you have been told that you are a close contact then you need to self-isolate for 14 days from the last date of contact with the case while they were considered infectious.
"You will be asked to self-isolate at home or, in some specific circumstances (eg, a dependant is a confirmed case) at a managed facility."