Tens of thousands of people protested in the streets of Austria against the current lockdown and mandatory vaccination by the government. They were waving white and red flags while chanting “Widerstand”, which means resistance. The city of Heldenplatz had 15,000 protestors in front of the Hofburg Palace, they compared the government’s decision as “slavery” and “taking control of their bodies.” Other protestors waved Austrian flags with the slogans “enough is enough”, “no to vaccination” and “down with the fascist dictatorship.”
Austria has one of the lowest rates of vaccination in western Europe, with only 66% of the population being fully-vaccinated. The Austrian government imposed this lockdown after the death rate tripled in recent weeks and the intensive care unit were reaching their capacity limits in the hardest-hit regions. According to the officials, the lockdown would last for a minimum of 10 days but could go up to three weeks, depending on the situation.
Protests against the mandatory vaccine laws also took place in neighbouring countries like northern Ireland, Croatia, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the riots in the city of Rotterdam “pure violence” by “idiots.” The Belgian government also strongly condemned the riots in Brussels, calling them “absolutely unacceptable.” The German government warned its citizens that they would either be “vaccinated, cured or dead” by the end of winter. The U.S. government updated its travel advisory, adding Germany and Denmark to “Level 4: Very High”, in addition to other European Countries.