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US News Coronavirus in Austria: Thousands of protesters in Vienna against health restrictions

13:35  07 march  2021
13:35  07 march  2021 Source:   20minutes.fr

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This demonstration was organized by the FPO, the Austrian far-right party

Lors de la manifestation à Vienne, samedi. © ALEX HALADA / AFP During the demonstration in Vienna on Saturday. CONTEST - This demonstration was organized by the FPO, the Austrian far-right party

Several thousand demonstrators once again marched through the center of Vienna on Saturday to protest against restrictions intended to stem the epidemic of Covid-19 . The police announced that they had made a few arrests, some at the end of the demonstration when some people refused to disperse. Isolated clashes were reported between protesters and leftist counter-protesters.

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Most of the participants did not wear masks and did not observe any physical distance as they crossed the city center towards Prater Park where the far-right FPÖ party called them to gather. The last lockdown in Austria was eased in February with the opening of schools, shops and museums. But the protesters are rising up against measures still in force, such as the closure of restaurants and cafes and compulsory tests for students physically present in their schools.

“False press”

“When the measures that are taken result in putting nearly a million people out of work or on leave, it destroys people economically, which will obviously have long-term consequences for families and for the children who live there, ”denounced a protester, Christopher Pollack. Former FPÖ Home Minister Herbert Kickl, in a speech to the crowd, accused the government of pursuing a "crazy and bizarre" policy.

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The demonstrators chanted slogans and brandished placards demanding the resignation of the center-right chancellor Sebastian Kurz, or even hostile to the media, described as "false press". Members of the far right, including neo-Nazis, who had participated in previous protests against masks and restrictions, were once again present, according to Austrian media.

Demonstrations against the restrictions and their economic impact have increased in recent months in the country. The government has not ruled out further easing of measures provided the number of infections drops. But new infections reported every day have increased in recent weeks. More than 2,500 new cases were recorded on Saturday. According to Health Minister Rudolf Anschober, the particularly contagious British variant is now dominant in Austria.

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