Violent demonstrations of ‘tens of thousands’ protest mandatory vax law in Vienna

Saturday saw large-scale demonstrations around Europe against Covid lockdowns, vaccine passports, and mandatory vaccination. Austria became the first European nation to require mandatory vaccinations and had earlier announced a lockdown for the unvaxed, which is now being extended to the entire population.  As a result, Austrians took to the streets in Vienna. Sky News reports:

Protesters have clashed with police in Vienna, as large crowds demonstrated on the streets of several European cities against the introduction of new COVID-19 restrictions.

Tens of thousands have been voicing their anger in the Austrian capital after the government announced a nationwide lockdown and said coronavirus vaccinations would become mandatory by law next year, blaming the country's high infection numbers on those who have failed to take up the jab.

Police said several protesters were detained, but did not give exact numbers. Later, demonstrators threw bottles and beer cans and fired pyrotechnics at police, who used pepper spray to disperse crowds.

A new law was introduced Friday, sparking the protests:

Austria will become the first European country to go back into full lockdown and the first to make Covid vaccination compulsory.

“This is not easy for us, but in view of the number of infections we have to take such measures,” Alexander Schallenberg, the Austrian chancellor, told a press conference on Friday, adding: “It hurts me to have to impose any restrictions.”

As usual, opponents are being labeled as “far right.”

"As of today, Austria is a dictatorship," said Herbert Kickl, the far-Right FPO leader, accusing the government of crossing a "dark red line" with the plan to force citizens to have the injection from Feb 1.

Austria is not alone in seeing protests.

[A] day after an "orgy of violence" during rioting in Rotterdam left several people injured, thousands more gathered in central Amsterdam, despite organisers calling off the protest in the aftermath of Friday night's events when police opened fire on protesters.

The demonstrators on Saturday left Dam Square and walked peacefully through the city's streets, closely monitored by officers.

In Italy, there were large protests against a new “green pass” system to penalize the unvaxed:

Demonstrators gathered in Milan and Rome on Saturday evening to protest Italy’s coronavirus health pass on the 18th consecutive weekend of such rallies. Organizers considered a strong showing necessary to prove that they were a force to be reckoned with.

The New York Times pooh-poohed the turnout,

But the paltry turnout in Rome — a few thousand vaccine skeptics decrying “dictatorship” at a protest at the Circus Maximus — and the inability of demonstrators in Milan to dominate, or even reach, squares where they lacked a permit, again showed that the opponents of the health pass are a small minority, and not a powerful movement.

But this screenshot from a YouTube video of the coverage seems to belie their point:

Europeans generally are more compliant than Americans when it comes to government orders. But even there, citizens are protesting governments seizing power in the name of public health.

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