Tens of thousands of people at the large corona demonstration in Vienna

by time news

Tens of thousands of people took part in a large demonstration against the Corona measures in Vienna on Saturday afternoon. The police spoke of 40,000 participants, the FPÖ of 100,000. The lockdown for everyone from Monday and the announced compulsory vaccination are likely to have led to more marching than originally expected. The mood was heated, there were occasional clashes. “Several people were arrested and reported,” said the police station.

The Vienna State Police Directorate reported on Saturday evening that there were repeated disruptions and that the police had to use pepper spray against aggressive activists in the area of ​​the castle gate. More than 1,300 police officers from Vienna as well as Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria and Styria were on duty. Interior Minister Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) announced a statement on the demos for Sunday morning.

Nehammer thanked the police officers in the late afternoon. “You professionally ensured security in a difficult mission,” said the Interior Minister in a broadcast. He described it as “completely unacceptable” that police officers were attacked during the demonstration and that criminal acts were committed under the Prohibition Act. The ÖVP politician was also indignant about the use of yellow stars with the words “Unvaccinated” by demonstrators. “This is not only completely tasteless, it plays down the crimes of the National Socialists and offends the millions of victims of the Nazi dictatorship and their families.”

Several marches previously took place in the direction of Heldenplatz, from there a demo marched once around the ring – led by hooligans. The demonstrators then gathered again on Heldenplatz and in front of the Burgtor, and later a final rally was to take place on Ballhausplatz. Most of the demonstrators had previously marched peacefully around the first district, and there had been riots on the ring before the march.

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As the APA learned from police circles, an attempt should have been made in at least one case to snatch the firearm from the security holster from an officer. At least ten people had been arrested by afternoon. In addition, there were at least ten advertisements under the Prohibition Act. In fact, several activists wore yellow stars with the inscription “unvaccinated” based on the “Jewish star”, and posters with the wording “This is how it began in 1938” or “Schallenberg = Mengele” were held up. The National Socialists murdered six million Jews in the Holocaust (1941-45). From September 1941, they were obliged to make themselves recognizable by wearing yellow stars. From 1938 Austria was part of Nazi Germany. As a doctor, Josef Mengele carried out medical experiments among inmates at the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, including injections of gasoline into the heart.

The demonstration was largely peaceful, but the police also reported that the mood was sometimes heated. At least three people resisted state violence, smoke bombs were detonated on the ring and officials and the freelance journalist Michael Bonvalot were pelted with bottles and cans. Bonvalot reported on Twitter of attacks with pepper spray and projectiles by extreme right, he had been threatened with physical violence in advance on social media. Profiles from unwelcome journalists are also said to have been distributed at the demonstration.

The rally took place two days before the lockdown, the majority of the participants did not adhere to the current mask requirement. For demonstrations with more than 50 participants, everyone must wear an FFP2 mask, unless all people have 2G evidence. By means of a loudspeaker announcement, the executive repeatedly pointed out the requirement to wear a mask.

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Among the participants mingled were the convicted neo-Nazi Gottfried Küssel, identity boss Martin Sellner, ex-politicians like the former FPÖ boss Heinz Christian Strache and anti-corona activist Martin Rutter and right-wing hooligans. Many opponents of the measure and Covid deniers had come from the federal states and neighboring countries, people from all walks of life took part. Some of the demonstrators also consumed a lot of alcohol. Again and again the protests were disorderly.

At a rally in the square in front of the Museum Quarter, a video message from FPÖ boss Herbert Kickl was shown in the afternoon. He tested positive for the corona virus on Monday and is in quarantine. The protest is “about defending against a totalitarian danger and threat,” said Kickl.

Participants who passed through the castle gate onto Heldenplatz with applause and a banner identifying them as police officers also caused a stir. According to information from the APA, these are likely to be German citizens. The local police announced that they would check whether they were Austrian officials and whether the use of the poster was permitted. In principle, officials are of course also allowed to take part in political rallies in their free time, emphasized the police.

For demonstrations with more than 50 participants, everyone must wear an FFP2 mask, unless all participants have proof of 2G, which is unlikely for the demonstrators. By means of a loudspeaker announcement, the executive repeatedly pointed out the requirement to wear a mask. Demonstrators with masks were the exception, however, Austrian flags were numerous.

In the run-up, numerous lateral thinkers and Covid deniers had mobilized, especially on Telegram. There were also rumors of possible attacks on hospitals, media houses, ministries and parliament. These critical infrastructure facilities are particularly protected, emphasized the police. At the vaccination streets of the federal capital, the security staff were increased and the police presence increased.

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There were interruptions and delays in public transport on Saturday. “Alles Gurgelt” announced in the inner districts at delivery points that the demonstrations could lead to delays in the collection of PCR tests or the evaluation.

No major rallies are to be expected in the federal states on Saturday. Around 800 people demonstrated against the upcoming corona lockdown and the announced mandatory vaccination in Innsbruck on Friday. According to the police, the participants in the unregistered rally went through the city center to the APA. There were no incidents.

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