The police said thousands of people took part in the latest protests against coronavirus restrictions in Vienna on Saturday and were arrested for violating the Public Order Act and Covid’s regulations.
Many protesters did not wear masks and did not observe social distancing when they reached the park through the center of the Austrian capital. This is the park where the far-right Liberal Party (FPOe) convened a rally.
Austria relaxed its latest lockdown measures last month and reopened schools, shops and museums. But the demonstrators expressed opposition to the remaining restrictions, including the closure of restaurants and cafes, and the in-person exams that school students must take.
Austrian media reported that among the extremists, including the convicted neo-Nazi Gottfried Kussel, had been seen during previous anti-lockout protests.
The police said that part of the arrests were at the end of the protest, and some participants refused to disperse. In recent months, such demonstrations have become more and more common as people are outraged by the continued restrictions on normal life and its economic impact.
Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said that this more infectious variant of the British variant is now the main variant in Austria and has achieved an “astonishing” high reproduction factor of 1.23, which is higher than the original virus strain.