December 7, 2021
Thousands in Vienna protest Austria's looming lockdown

Thousands in Vienna protest Austria’s looming lockdown

VIENNA — Thousands of protesters gathered in Vienna on Saturday after the Austrian authorities introduced a nationwide lockdown starting Monday to comprise the nation’s skyrocketing coronavirus infections.

The far-right opposition Freedom Get together was amongst those that have known as for the protest and vowed to fight the brand new restrictions.

Demonstrations towards virus measures have been additionally anticipated in different European nations together with Switzerland, Croatia and Italy. On Friday night time, Dutch police opened fireplace on protesters and 7 individuals have been injured in rioting that erupted in Rotterdam round an indication towards COVID-19 restrictions.

The Austrian lockdown will begin early Monday. Initially it can final for 10 days after which it’s reevaluated. At most it can final for 20 days, officers mentioned. Most shops will shut and cultural occasions shall be canceled. Individuals will be capable of go away their houses just for sure particular causes, together with shopping for groceries, going to the physician or exercising.

The Austrian authorities additionally mentioned beginning Feb. 1, the Alpine nation will make vaccinations necessary.

Because the march kicked off on Vienna’s Heldenplatz, hundreds of protesters gathered on the huge sq.. About 1,300 cops have been on responsibility. They used loudspeakers to inform protesters masks have been required, however most didn’t put on them.

Chanting “Resistance!” and blowing whistles, protesters moved slowly down town’s interior ring highway. Many waved Austrian flags and carried indicators mocking authorities leaders like Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg and Well being Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein.

Some wore physician’s scrubs; others donned tinfoil hats. Many of the indicators centered on the newly introduced vaccine mandate: “My Body, My Choice,” learn one. “We’re Standing Up for Our Kids!” mentioned one other.

Freedom Get together chief Herbert Kickl, who introduced earlier this week that he had examined optimistic for COVID-19 and needed to keep in isolation at dwelling, made an look by way of video. He denounced what he known as “totalitarian” measures from a authorities “that believes it should think and decide for us.”

Vaccinations in Austria have plateaued at one of many lowest charges in Western Europe and hospitals in closely hit states have warned that their intensive care models are reaching capability. Common every day deaths have tripled in current weeks.

Not fairly 66% of Austria’s 8.9 million persons are absolutely vaccinated.

Schallenberg apologized to all vaccinated individuals on Friday night time, saying it wasn’t honest they needed to endure below the renewed lockdown restrictions after they had performed all the things to assist comprise the virus.

“I’m sorry to take this drastic step,” he mentioned on public broadcaster ORF.

A day after the Rotterdam rioting, hundreds of individuals gathered on Amsterdam’s central Dam Sq. to protest the federal government’s coronavirus restrictions, regardless of organizers calling off the protest in the aftermath of occasions in Rotterdam. The protesters left the central sq. and walked peacefully by town’s streets, intently monitored by police.

A number of hundred protesters additionally marched by the southern Dutch metropolis of Breda to protest lockdown restrictions. One organizer, Joost Eras, informed Dutch broadcaster NOS he didn’t count on violence after consulting with police about safety measures.

“We certainly don’t support what happened in Rotterdam. We were shocked by it,” he informed NOS.

In France, Inside Minister Gerald Darmanin on Saturday condemned violent protests in the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, one in every of France’s abroad territories, over COVID-19 restrictions. Darmanin mentioned 29 individuals had been detained by police in a single day. Authorities introduced they’re sending 200 further cops to the island and on Tuesday will impose a nightly curfew from 6 p.m. to five a.m.

The move exhibits that persons are absolutely vaccinated, have had a current adverse check or proof of a current COVID-19 restoration.


Mike Corder contributed from The Hague, Netherlands, Sylvie Corbet contributed reporting from Paris.


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