Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Photo: Screen capture from the trailer
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New Zealand protest was inspired by Canada’s trucker convoy

River of Freedom – the Film

by Donna Laframboise

Canada’s Freedom Convoy inspired people around the world. New Zealand residents spent 23 days camped outside Parliament House in their capital city of Wellington, protesting COVID vaccine mandates and demanding a return to normal life.

Like Canada’s Prime Minister, New Zealand politicians refused to dialogue with the protesters. As one man says in the trailer, above: “If democracy’s a conversation, and politicians don’t want to have the conversation” that’s an enormous problem.

As happened in Canada, the New Zealand protest was violently shut down by police who behaved like thugs. Jared Connon, the producer of River of Freedom, was amongst those arrested.

This film will premiere in three New Zealand cities this week. The screen capture below shows us a big, beautiful Kenworth with “No mandates” written on its front bumper.

The following synopsis appears on the film’s website:

Screen capture from the trailer (click image)

RIVER OF FREEDOM is a feature documentary sharing the inside story of the New Zealand Convoy and Parliament protest in February and March 2022—who the people were, why they were there, and what happened!

“Fed up with Covid-19 restrictions and vaccine mandates, thousands of people convoy to Wellington from all around the country, demanding change and expecting democratic representation. A child’s hand drawn sign sums it up: “You have a right to say no!”

On the road to Parliament are people from all walks of life—teachers and students, caregivers and medical professionals, first responders; tradies, musicians and artists commercial pilots; farmers, business owners, and government employees. All are suffering loss: employment, education, connections, reputation, wellbeing. Lost opportunities.

The convoy sparks hope across the nation. New Zealanders gather on the lawn of Parliament to express their grievances. Intent on change and expecting democratic representation, they chant “freedom!”

Without a government-issued ‘vaccine passport’ many are refused access to hotels, cafes and amenities. Meanwhile, they are welcomed by [indigenous Maori], and set up camp on the front lawn of Parliament—together they create a ‘Freedom Village’.

…under Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s leadership, the people are ignored; collectively, all 120 parliamentarians agree not to communicate with them.

After 23 days, the New Zealand Police ambush the protestors in a dawn raid, forcibly clearing everyone using methods never seen before in [New Zealand]. Nevertheless, the peace, love & kotahitanga (unity) shared by the protestors, as well as their supporters, will be forever remembered, as will the injustices of this time.”

RIVER OF FREEDOM is made by professional filmmakers, present during the convoy & occupation, to document the heart of the protest—the largest protest in New Zealand’s recent history.

*****


Donna Laframboise writes a daily blog at  ThankYouTruckers.substack.comIt is a first draft of her upcoming book that focuses on interviews with Freedom Convoy truckers. She is a former National Post and Toronto Star columnist, and a former Vice President of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.