December 2, 2021

Global News Archive

News archives from around the world.

Tens of thousands march in Vienna against COVID measures before lockdown – Reuters

2 min read

VIENNA, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of people, many of them far-right supporters, protested in Vienna on Saturday against coronavirus restrictions a day after Austria’s government announced a new lockdown and said vaccines would be made compulsory next year.

Whistling, blowing horns and banging drums, crowds streamed into Heroes’ Square in front of the Hofburg, the former imperial palace in central Vienna, in the early afternoon, one of several protest locations.

Many demonstrators waved Austrian flags and carried signs with slogans such as “no to vaccination”, “enough is enough” or “down with the fascist dictatorship”.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to reuters.com

By mid-afternoon the crowds had swelled to roughly 35,000 people, according to the police, and were marching down Vienna’s inner ring road before heading back towards the Hofburg.

A police spokesman said there had been fewer than 10 arrests, for breaches of coronavirus restrictions and the ban on Nazi symbols.

Police officers stand guard as demonstrators gather to protest against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) measures in Vienna, Austria, November 20, 2021. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Roughly 66% of Austria’s population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, one of the lowest rates in western Europe. Many Austrians are sceptical about vaccines, a view encouraged by the far-right Freedom Party, the third-biggest in parliament.

With daily infections still setting records even after a lockdown was imposed on the unvaccinated this week, the government said on Friday it would reintroduce a lockdown on Monday and make it compulsory to get vaccinated as of Feb. 1.

The Freedom Party (FPO) and other vaccine-critical groups had already been planning a show of force in Vienna on Saturday before Friday’s announcement, which prompted FPO leader Herbert Kickl to respond that “As of today, Austria is a dictatorship”.

Kickl could not attend because he has caught COVID-19.

“We are not in favour of our government’s measures,” said one protester, who was part of a group wearing tin foil on their heads and brandishing toilet brushes. Like most protesters who spoke to the media, they declined to give their names, though the mood was festive.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to reuters.com

Reporting by Leonhard Foeger and Francois Murphy, Editing by William Maclean

<

p class=”Text__text___3eVx1j Text__dark-grey___AS2I_p Text__regular___Bh17t- Text__large___1i0u1F Body__base___25kqPt Body__large_body___3g04wK ArticleBody__element___3UrnEs”>Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source Link

Leave a Reply

Copyright ©2016-2021 Global News Archive. All rights reserved.