🇦🇹 Tens of thousands of people protested in Vienna on Saturday (Nov. 20) against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions a day after Austria’s government announced a new lockdown and said vaccinations would be made compulsory next year.
By mid-afternoon the crowds had swelled to roughly 35,000 people, according to the police, and were marching down Vienna’s inner ring road before heading back towards the Hofburg.
Many demonstrators waved Austrian flags and carried signs with slogans such as “no to vaccination”, “enough is enough” or “down with the fascist dictatorship.”
The Austrian lockdown will start early Monday and initially will last for 10 days, and will then be reevaluated. At the most it will last 20 days. Most stores will close, and cultural events will be canceled. People will be able to leave their homes only for certain specific reasons, including buying groceries, going to the doctor or exercising.
The Austrian government also said that starting Feb. 1, the country will make vaccinations mandatory.
As the march kicked off on Vienna’s Heldenplatz, thousands of protesters gathered on the massive square. About 1,300 police officers were on duty. They used loudspeakers to tell protesters masks were required, but most didn’t wear them.