Several thousand people have taken to the streets this Saturday in Vienna, the capital of Austria, to protest against the new sanitary measures imposed by the Government in order to try to stop the advance of the coronavirus in the country. The measures include confinement at the national level and make vaccination mandatory.
Austrian police forces estimate that some 7,000 people have participated in the demonstration called in the Austrian city, where they have also criticized the obligation to vaccinate against COVID-19, a measure that will take effect in February 2022.
The protesters have demanded greater “freedom” from the government, although many of them have not come to the protest with masks, which is a violation of the restrictions on calling demonstrations under Austrian law.
The Government has responded by sending 1,300 police officers to the streets, deployed to control the march and have kept a low profile for the moment. “There have been no incidents worth mentioning,” said a police spokesman, who described the situation as “dynamic”, although the authorities hope that more people will join in the afternoon.
The marches – called largely by the far-right formation Freedom Party – are expected to spread to other areas of the country during the day. Its leader, Herbert Kickl, who is currently sick with COVID-19, sees the measures as “dictatorial.”
The confinement will take effect on Monday throughout the country, although it will end for those who are vaccinated or have passed the disease on December 13. For the country’s chancellor, the decision to confine himself has come “late”, but it has been the correct one since the situation “simply could not continue like this.”
This Saturday the country has registered 15,297 infections, a little below the maximum of 15,809 registered the day before, but the weekly incidence already exceeds 1,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Another 42 people have died in the last 24 hours and there are currently 2,881 people in hospital treatment for coronavirus, 524 of them in intensive care units, according to the latest balance of the Ministry of Health.
The total number of infections in the country since the beginning of the pandemic is around 1,030,000 and the deceased are already close to 12,000 (11,993 deaths).