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Vienna: 40,000 demonstrate against lockdown and vaccination mandates

Vienna - In Austria's capital, according to the police, almost 40,000 people took part in demonstrations against new exit restrictions and the mandatory vaccination announced for February. On Saturday afternoon, the protest march paralyzed large parts of Vienna's inner city. A police spokesman described the mood as "heated up" in the meantime.

The FPÖ spoke of up to 100,000 participants. The protesters shouted the word "freedom". Slogans like “No to the vaccination”, “Enough is enough” and “Down with the fascist dictatorship” were on the posters. Not only Austrians were on the road. According to the police, Germans were also on the streets of Vienna. Cowbells could also be heard.

The ranks of the demonstrators attacked the police accompanying the train. Many of the protesters did not wear FFP2 masks, which is a violation of applicable regulations. The police had to use pepper spray against aggressive activists who threw bottles and flares. 1,300 officers were deployed and several people have been arrested.

Kickl speaks of a dictatorship and thanks the police
The FPÖ, among others, had called for the protests. Their party leader Herberb Kickl, who has Covid-19 and is in quarantine, sent a video message in which he called for the broadest possible resistance. He had previously criticized the government's measures and spoke of a “dictatorship” in Austria. In the video, Kickl also thanked the Viennese police "who had accompanied this event so professionally, carefully and in an exemplary manner" and thus made it possible to safeguard the fundamental right to freedom of assembly.

From Monday November 22nd, Austrians are only allowed to leave their homes for valid reasons. Cultural and leisure facilities as well as bars will be closed. It is the fourth lockdown in Austria. "Despite months of persuasion, we did not succeed in convincing enough people to get vaccinated," said Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) to justify the measures.

The exit restrictions for vaccinated and convalescent people should end on December 13th. For those who have not been vaccinated, the lockdown is unlimited. The vaccination rate is currently 66 percent. That is less than in Germany.

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