5 Dec 2021
More than 40,000 Protest in Vienna Against New COVID19 Lockdown
The Index Today
More than 40,000 people marched through Vienna on Saturday to protest against another lockdown and government plans to make vaccinations compulsory to reduce the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to the increase in COVID-19 infections and with the new variant threat Omicron, the government last month made Austria the first country in Western Europe to reimpose a lockdown and said it would make vaccinations mandatory from February.
People carried signs saying: "I will decide for myself", "Make Austria Great Again", and "New Elections" - a nod to the political turmoil that has seen three chancellors within two months - as crowds gathered.
"I am here because I am against against forced vaccinations. I am for human rights, and the violation of human rights should be stopped," one protester told Reuters Television.
"We are protecting our children," said another.
Reuters Television reported that around 1,200 police officers deployed to handle scattered protests that merged into a march on the central Ring boulevard.Police put the size of the protest at over 40,000, while around 1,500 staged counterprotests.
New cases have been falling since the start of the lockdown, whose terms make exception for protests.