Arrests and skirmishes with police during an anti-lockdown demonstration in Vienna

Austrian media reported that the services used pepper spray on several occasions against Protestants who threw bottles and fireworks at policemen.

After the government announced a nationwide lockdown on Friday, which is expected to go into effect next Monday, opponents of the planned restrictions have called for a demonstration in the capital on Saturday. The Puls24 portal reports that more than 1,300 officers from across the country, as well as sniffer dogs, have been directed to maintain order in Vienna.

Right-wing extremists and deniers of epidemics and vaccines, as well as rioting groups encouraged participation in the demonstration via social media (mainly Telegram).

According to the Ministry of Interior, there were rumors of possible attacks on hospitals, editorial offices, ministries and parliament prior to the demonstration. “These infrastructure facilities will be specially protected,” the police declared before the demonstration. In places where there are vaccination points, the number of security service personnel has increased.

The media reported that during the demonstration, there was an attempt to snatch a policeman’s rifle from her holster, “at least 10 people were arrested.” There were also at least 10 crimes related to the promotion of Nazi and anti-Semitic ideology. “Many activists carried, for example, yellow Stars of David with the inscription“ Unprotected ”and posters denoting National Socialism” – reported Puls24.

According to the Nachrichten website, people known for their neo-Nazi and far-right views, and activists in the anti-vaccination movements, were seen among those participating in the demonstration. “Many opponents of the restrictions and deniers of the epidemic came from neighboring federal states, people from all walks of life were present. Some of the protesters consumed a lot of alcohol. The protests became chaotic again and again,” Nachrichtin describes.

Vienna police stated on Twitter that they were forced to use pepper spray against protesters who threw bottles, beer cans, firecrackers and fireworks at officers.

In the late afternoon, the head of the Home Office, Karl Nehamer (OeVP), thanked police officers for their work in securing the demonstrations, Nachrichten reports. Niemer stressed that the attacks on the officers were “totally unacceptable.”

He also referred to incidents of the use of the yellow Magen David Adom by protesters, stressing his dissatisfaction with the situation. “This is not only completely inappropriate, but above all belittles the crimes of the National Socialists and humiliates the millions of victims of the Nazi dictatorship and their families,” Nehamer stressed.

Federal Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg (OeVP) points out that the populist right-wing Austrian Freedom Party (FPOe) and its stance on refusing vaccination and other security measures are to blame for the blockades and restrictions.

“FPÖ was one of the organizers of today’s show in the center of Vienna” – confirms Puls24. Party leader Herbert Kekel wanted to participate, but infection with the Covid-19 virus “frustrated his plans”. Also, Manfred Heimbuchner, the head of the FPÖ from Upper Austria (the region with the highest infection rate in the country), was infected with the coronavirus. – I know how hard it is to go through it, and I want to protect from it in the future – he quotes his words “Kronen Zeitung”. That is why he “will be vaccinated, of course” – he adds.

According to the police, about 35,000 people participated in the demonstration against government restrictions and the announced closure. Persons. The FPÖ reported about 100 thousand. protesters.

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