On Saturday in Vienna, opponents of the epidemic restrictions, mainly supporters of the right-wing populist Austrian Freedom Party, protested. According to the police, there were about 30,000 of them. On the other hand, the protest against the restrictions in the Netherlands was canceled.
Austrian authorities announced on Friday that a 10-day lockdown will be introduced, which can be extended to 20 days. It is to take effect on Monday. This decision is related to the large increase in COVID-19 patients and the difficult situation in hospitals. From February, the obligation to vaccinate against COVID-19 will also be introduced.
Protest in Vienna
On Saturday, opponents of the lockdown, mainly supporters of the right-wing populist Austrian Freedom Party (FPOe), took to the streets of Vienna. They manifested their opposition to the government’s decision. According to the police, about 30,000 people demonstrated.
– I estimate that about 20-25 percent of the society is close to various types of conspiracy theories. This is a group that right-wing extremists are trying to recruit, said Austrian journalist and writer Michael Bonvalot.
He added that in parts of the country where the right-wing movement is strong, fewer people get vaccinated and more get COVID-19. The FPOe leader Herbert Kickl, who calls the pandemic restrictions “dictatorship”, also received a positive test for COVID-19 earlier this week.
The chancellor apologizes to the vaccinated for the lockdown
Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg on Friday apologized to all vaccinated people for the restrictions introduced, saying it was unfair that they had to suffer the blockade, although they had used all available means to protect themselves and others from infection and to stop transmission of the virus.
According to government figures, less than 66 percent of Austria’s 8.9 million inhabitants are fully vaccinated.
Police said approximately 1,300 officers will monitor compliance with the restrictions in various parts of the country.
The protest in Amsterdam has been canceled
On Saturday, a similar demonstration was also to take place in Amsterdam. The organizers, however, about canceling the action due to Friday riots in Rotterdam. “We are not able to guarantee the safety of the participants,” they stated. Friday night there were clashes in Rotterdam demonstrating against sanitary restrictions and the police. The police opened fire on the aggressive demonstrators attacking her. Seven people were injured.
Main photo source: EPA / CHRISTIAN BRUNA