Thousands of Austrians protest against the government’s coronavirus policies on Saturday (November 20) and demanded “I want my freedom back,” two days before a full lockdown is reimposed to tackle a new wave of infections.
The demonstration in Vienna’s Heldenplatz square was organised by Austria’s far-right Freedom Party, the third-biggest in parliament.
Party head Herbert Kickl was unable to attend after he tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to remain in quarantine.
On Friday, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said the whole population would be required to get vaccinated as of February.
“I want my freedom back. One would think we live in a democracy but now, this is a coronavirus dictatorship,” said one female protester who declined to give her name.
Another one, a man who appeared to be in his 50s, said “I believe it’s wrong to classify a healthy human being as a danger who has to undergo tests all the time when in fact it’s not as dangerous as they say.”
Austria introduced a lockdown for those who are not fully vaccinated from Monday.
Placards in the crowd read “genetically modified vaccination? No thank you” and “enough is enough.”
Roughly two-thirds of Austria’s population is fully vaccinated, one of the lowest rates in western Europe.