cloudy.png
Monday January 17th, 2022 5:02PM
12:00AM ( 17 hours ago ) Weather Alert
3:00PM ( 2 days ago ) Weather Alert

Protests against virus restrictions erupt in Vienna, Zurich

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

VIENNA (AP) — Tens of thousands of protesters, many from far-right groups, marched through Vienna on Saturday after the Austrian government announced a nationwide lockdown beginning Monday to contain the country's skyrocketing coronavirus infections.

Among those protesting were members of far-right and extreme-right parties and groups, including the far-right Freedom Party, the anti-vaccine MFG party and the extreme-right Identitarians.

Demonstrations against virus restrictions were also taking place Saturday in Switzerland, Croatia and Italy. On Friday night, Dutch police opened fire on protesters and seven people were injured in rioting that erupted in Rotterdam against COVID-19 restrictions.

The Austrian lockdown will start Monday. Initially it will last for 10 days but it could go up to 20 days, officials said. Most stores will close and cultural events will be canceled. People will be able to leave their homes only for specific reasons, including buying groceries, going to the doctor or exercising.

The Austrian government also said starting Feb. 1, it will make vaccinations mandatory.

The march Saturday kicked off at Vienna’s massive Heldenplatz square. About 1,300 police officers were on duty, and 35,000 protesters participated in different marches across the city, police said, adding that most didn’t wear masks.

Chanting “Resistance!” and blowing whistles, protesters moved down the city’s inner ring road. Many waved Austrian flags and carried signs mocking government leaders like Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg and Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein. Some wore doctor’s scrubs; others donned tinfoil hats. Most signs focused on the upcoming vaccine mandate: “My Body, My Choice,” read one. “We’re Standing Up for Our Kids!” said another.

Freedom Party leader Herbert Kickl, who tested positive for COVID-19 this week and had to stay in isolation, made an appearance at the rally via video, denouncing what he called “totalitarian” measures from a government “that believes it should think and decide for us.”

Vaccinations in Austria have plateaued at one of the lowest rates in Western Europe and hospitals in heavily hit states have warned that their intensive care units are reaching capacity. Average daily deaths have tripled in recent weeks. Not quite 66% of Austria’s 8.9 million people are fully vaccinated.

Schallenberg apologized to all vaccinated people on Friday, saying it wasn't fair they had to suffer under the renewed lockdown restrictions when they had done everything to help contain the virus.

“I’m sorry to take this drastic step,” he said on public broadcaster ORF.

In neighboring Switzerland, 2,000 people protested an upcoming referendum on whether to approve the government’s COVID-19 restrictions law, claiming it was discriminary, public broadcaster SRF reported.

A day after the Rotterdam rioting, thousands gathered Saturday on Amsterdam’s central Dam Square to protest the government’s coronavirus restrictions, despite organizers calling off the protest. They walked peacefully through the city’s streets, closely monitored by police.

A few hundred protesters also marched through the southern Dutch city of Breda to protest lockdown restrictions. One organizer, Joost Eras, told Dutch broadcaster NOS he didn’t expect violence after consulting with police about security measures.

“We certainly don’t support what happened in Rotterdam. We were shocked by it,” he told NOS.

In France, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin on Saturday condemned violent protests in the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, one of France’s overseas territories, over COVID-19 restrictions. Darmanin said 29 people had been detained by police overnight. Authorities were sending 200 more police officers to the island and on Tuesday will impose a nightly curfew from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Protesters in Guadeloupe have staged road blockades and set cars on fire. They denounce France's COVID-19 health pass that is now required to access restaurants and cafes, cultural venues, sport arenas and long-distance travel. They are also protesting France's mandatory vaccinations for health care workers.

___

Mike Corder contributed from The Hague, Netherlands, Sylvie Corbet contributed reporting from Paris.

___

Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Health, AP World News, AP Business
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
New hurdle for COVID-19 home testing -- the holiday season
Holiday season could strain COVID-19 home test supplies as more Americans try to screen themselves before Thanksgiving and other family gatherings
11:11AM ( 8 minutes ago )
As tourism brightens, Times Square hopes to regain luster
Even as visitors again crowd below the jumbo screens in New York’s Times Square, the souvenir shops, restaurants, hotels and entrepreneurs within the iconic U.S. landmark are still reeling from a staggering pandemic
10:54AM ( 25 minutes ago )
US climate pledge faces test in Senate with global impact
The Biden administration and Democrats talked the climate talk at U.N. negotiations in Scotland
10:48AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Tennis players take on Communist Party: Where is Peng Shuai?
Some of the world’s most famous tennis players are distraught by the disappearance of colleague Peng Shuai and are challenging China’s Communist Party to get answers
9:22AM ( 1 hour ago )
'Orgy of violence': Dutch police open fire on rioters
Police opened fire on protesters in rioting that erupted in downtown Rotterdam around a demonstration against COVID-19 restrictions
8:50AM ( 2 hours ago )
Landrieu back in spotlight tackling infrastructure, equity
As mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu oversaw billions of dollars in infrastructure repairs and improvements when he took over a lagging recovery from Hurricane Katrina in 2010
8:26AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Europe's COVID crisis pits vaccinated against unvaccinated
With coronavirus infections spiking again across Europe despite nearly two years of restrictions, the health crisis increasingly is pitting citizen against citizen — the vaccinated against the unvaccinated
2:36AM ( 8 hours ago )
UN peacekeepers face greater threats from complex conflicts
The U.N. peacekeeping chief says the more than 66,000 United Nations peacekeepers are confronting greater threats today because conflicts have become more complex and are driven by an increasing number of factors ranging from ethnic tensions and the impact of organized crime to illegal exploitation of resources and terrorism
12:51AM ( 10 hours ago )
US seeks balance as fears grow Russia may invade Ukraine
The buildup of Russian troops near Ukraine has left U.S. officials perplexed
12:32AM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Coronavirus infections soar to new record in Czech Republic
Soaring coronavirus infection rates in the Czech Republic have hit a new record for the second time this week
4:18AM ( 7 hours ago )
US opens COVID boosters to all adults, urges them for 50+
The U.S. is opening COVID-19 vaccine boosters to all adults, and urging them for anyone 50 and older
7:23PM ( 15 hours ago )
Checkup finds Biden 'vigorous'; Harris briefly in power
President Joe Biden remains “healthy” and “vigorous” and fit for duty, but is showing some signs of aging
6:33PM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Health
Pope hopes charity match deals a "kick" to exclusion
Pope Francis is hoping that a charity soccer match that includes Swiss Guards, Vatican employees, priests, a player with Down syndrome, migrants and members of the Roma community will deal a significant “kick” to discrimination
9:01AM ( 2 hours ago )
Thousands expected to protest upcoming lockdown in Vienna
Thousands of protesters are expected to gather in Vienna after the Austrian government announced a nationwide lockdown to contain the quickly rising coronavirus infection rate in the country
5:36AM ( 5 hours ago )
China fines tech giants over anti-monopoly violations
China's market regulator has fined tech giants including Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings for failing to report corporate acquisitions
3:17AM ( 8 hours ago )
AP World News
AP source: Broncos WR Tim Patrick agrees to $30M extension
A person with knowledge of the negotiations tells The Associated Press that wide receiver Tim Patrick and the Denver Broncos have agreed to a three-year extension worth $30 million with $18.5 million in guarantees
7:15PM ( 16 hours ago )
Boutier makes big run for 65 to open 4-shot lead at Tiburon
A dozen or so players were right in the mix at the CME Group Tour Championship
5:52PM ( 17 hours ago )
Stocks end mostly lower, but tech gains push Nasdaq higher
Stocks closed mostly lower on Wall Street Friday, though gains for several tech companies pushed the Nasdaq composite to another record high and its first close over 16,000 points
5:10PM ( 18 hours ago )
AP Business
New hurdle for COVID-19 home testing -- the holiday season
Holiday season could strain COVID-19 home test supplies as more Americans try to screen themselves before Thanksgiving and other family gatherings
11:11AM ( 9 minutes ago )
As tourism brightens, Times Square hopes to regain luster
Even as visitors again crowd below the jumbo screens in New York’s Times Square, the souvenir shops, restaurants, hotels and entrepreneurs within the iconic U.S. landmark are still reeling from a staggering pandemic
10:54AM ( 26 minutes ago )
US climate pledge faces test in Senate with global impact
The Biden administration and Democrats talked the climate talk at U.N. negotiations in Scotland
10:48AM ( 32 minutes ago )
Steelers Roethlisberger will start, moved off COVID-19 list
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will start against the Los Angeles Chargers after being removed from the COVID-19 list
10:28AM ( 52 minutes ago )
With lights back on, Times Square hopes to regain its luster
Even as visitors again crowd below the jumbo screens in New York’s Times Square, the souvenir shops, restaurants, hotels and entrepreneurs within the iconic U.S. landmark are still reeling from a staggering pandemic
9:52AM ( 1 hour ago )