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Austrian far-right Freedom Occasion protests towards COVID measures | Coronavirus pandemic Information

Freedom Occasion supporters amongst hundreds protesting in Vienna towards COVID lockdown and obligatory vaccinations.

1000’s of protesters have gathered in Austria’s capital, Vienna, after the federal government introduced a nationwide lockdown to include the rapidly rising coronavirus infections within the nation.

The far-right opposition Freedom Occasion is amongst those that have referred to as for Saturday’s protest and have pledged to fight the brand new restrictions.

Demonstrations towards virus measures are additionally anticipated in different European international locations, together with Switzerland, Croatia and Italy.

On Friday night time, Dutch police opened fire on protesters and 7 individuals have been injured in rioting that erupted in central Rotterdam round an illustration towards COVID-19 restrictions.

The Austrian lockdown will begin early on Monday and can initially final for 10 days earlier than being reevaluated. On the most, it would final 20 days. Most shops will shut, and cultural occasions will probably be cancelled. Folks will be capable of go away their houses just for sure causes, together with shopping for groceries, going to the physician or exercising.


The federal government additionally stated that beginning February 1, the nation will make vaccinations mandatory.

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

Simply lower than 66 % of Austria’s 8.9 million persons are absolutely vaccinated, based on authorities figures.

Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg apologised to all vaccinated individuals on Friday night time, saying it was not truthful they needed to undergo beneath the renewed lockdown restrictions once they had performed the whole lot to assist include the virus.

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

Freedom Occasion chief Herbert Kickl, who introduced earlier this week that he had examined optimistic for COVID-19, referred to the measures as “dictatorship”.

Kickl should self-isolate for 14 days, so he will be unable to attend the Vienna protest.

Michael Bonvalot, an Austrian journalist and creator, informed Al Jazeera the far-right motion – primarily from the Freedom Occasion – have capitalised on the discontent some have in direction of the federal government’s COVID rules.

“What the far proper did is that they noticed some layer of the inhabitants that wasn’t solely pleased with the required measures towards the pandemic,” he stated, talking from Vienna.

Bonvalot stated the far proper is organising across the anti-COVID guidelines and including anti-Semitic conspiracy theories to their agenda.

“If we have a look at the numbers proper now, I believe there may be 20-25 % of the inhabitants which aren’t solely blissful and are near some sort of conspiracy theories, and that’s who the right-wing extremists are attempting to recruit,” he stated.

Within the areas the place the right-wing motion is robust, “[fewer] persons are vaccinated and extra individuals get sick,” he added.

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