Protests erupt over virus rules in Austria, Italy, Croatia

VIENNA , Tens of thousands marched through Vienna Saturday following a national lockdown by the Austrian government, which began Monday, to combat rising coronavirus infections.

Protests erupt over virus rules in Austria, Italy, Croatia

VIENNA , Tens of thousands marched through Vienna Saturday following a national lockdown by the Austrian government, which began Monday, to combat rising coronavirus infections.

Merve Dikici
Merve Dikici
20 November 2021 Saturday 15:29
574 Reads
Protests erupt over virus rules in Austria, Italy, Croatia

VIENNA , Tens of thousands marched through Vienna Saturday following a national lockdown by the Austrian government, which began Monday, to combat rising coronavirus infections.

On Saturday, protests against virus restrictions were also held in Switzerland, Italy, Northern Ireland, and Croatia. This was a day after the Dutch police opened firing on protestersand seven others were injured in the riots that broke out in Rotterdam. Protestors rallied against mandatory COVID-19 permits required in many European countries for entry to restaurants, Christmas markets, or sporting events as well as coronavirus restrictions.

The Austrian lockdown will begin Monday. This comes as the average daily death rate has tripled in recent weeks, and hospitals in severely affected states have warned that they are nearing capacity in intensive care units. Officials said the lockdown would last for at least 10 days, but could extend to 20. Only certain reasons will allow people to leave their homes, such as to buy groceries, go to the doctor, or exercise.

Starting February 1, the government will also make mandatory vaccinations. Only 66% of Austria's 8.9million people have been fully vaccinated, which is one of the lowest rates of vaccination in Western Europe.

The massive Heldenplatz square in Vienna was the starting point for Saturday's march. Protesters marched down the inner ring road of Vienna, shouting "Resistance!" as well as blowing whistles. Many carried signs mocking Wolfgang Mueckstein and Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg, and waved Austrian flags. Some donned scrubs while others wore tinfoil caps. The majority of signs were focused on the mandate for vaccines: One sign read "My Body, My Choice." Another said, "We're standing up for our kids!"

Members of extreme-right and far-right parties and organizations were among those who protested, including the far right Freedom Party, anti-vaccine MFG Party and the extrem-right Identitarians.

Police said that around 1,300 officers were on duty and that 35,000 protestors participated in various marches throughout the city. Police stated that several protestors were taken into custody, but did not give any details. Protesters also threw beer cans and bottles at police on Saturday night. Police then used pepper spray in dispersal of the crowds.

Herbert Kickl, Freedom Party leader, recently tested positive for COVID-19. He appeared via video denouncing "totalitarian measures" from a government that "believes it should think and make decisions for us."

Schallenberg offered an apology to all those who had been vaccinated on Friday, saying that it was unfair they were subject to the new lockdown restrictions.

He said, "I'm sorry to make this drastic step," on ORF public broadcaster.

Public broadcaster SRF reported that 2,000 protestors in neighboring Switzerland were against a referendum on the approval of the COVID-19 restrictions law. They claimed it was discriminatory.

The protest was called off by organizers a day later when thousands of people gathered in Amsterdam's central Dam Square. They marched peacefully along the streets, being closely monitored by police.

Hugo Gietelink, a Dutch journalist, said that the anti coronavirus policy causes a lot more conflicts among people. "I believe it is important that the vaccinated as well as non-vaccinated be able to rekindle friendship."

A few hundred marched through Breda, a southern Dutch city. Joost Eras, one of the organizers, stated to NOS that he did not expect violence after speaking with police.

"We don't support the events in Rotterdam. He said that he was shocked by the incident.

Italy's Capital Circus Maximus saw 3,000 people protest against the requirement for "Green Pass" certificates at work, restaurants, cinemas and theaters as well as long-distance bus, ferry, and train travel.

One banner in red, white, and green italics read, "People like us never lose heart," Nearly everyone did not wear a protective mask.

A number of hundred protestors in Northern Ireland opposed vaccine passports protested at the Belfast city hall. Saturday's opening of the Christmas market saw hundreds of people demonstrate their opposition to vaccination.

This week, the Northern Ireland government voted to allow vaccination certificates to be used for entry to bars, nightclubs and restaurants beginning Dec. 13.

Signs carried by protesters were widely condemned for being offensive. They compared coronavirus restrictions with Nazi Germany's actions.

Croatians gathered in Zagreb to display flags, religious and national symbols as well as banners against vaccinations and other restrictions on people's rights.

France's Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has condemned violence on Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, which is one of France’s overseas territories. Darmanin stated that 29 people were detained overnight by police. 200 additional police officers were sent to the island by authorities. On Tuesday, a nightly curfew will be imposed from 6 p.m. until 5 a.m.

Guadeloupe protestors have set fire to cars and staged road blocksades. They protest France's COVID-19 health card, which is required to enter restaurants, cafes, cultural venues and sport arenas as well as long-distance travel. They also protest France's compulsory vaccinations for health workers.

Comments

Warning!

You have to login for comment. If you are not a member? Register now.

Login Sign Up