More than 40,000 marches in Vienna against coronavirus lockdown – .

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More than 40,000 marches in Vienna against coronavirus lockdown – .


VIENNA, Dec. 4 (Reuters) – More than 40,000 people marched through Vienna on Saturday to protest against containment and plans to make vaccinations mandatory to curb the coronavirus pandemic.

Amid an upsurge in infections, the government last month made Austria the first country in Western Europe to re-impose a lockdown and said it would make vaccinations mandatory from February.

People carried signs saying: “I will decide for myself”, “Make Austria great again” and “New elections” – a nod to the political turmoil that has seen three chancellors in two months – so as the crowds gathered. Read more

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“I am here because I am against forced vaccinations. I am for human rights and the violation of human rights must stop, ”a protester told Reuters Television.

“We are protecting our children,” said another.

About 1,200 police officers were deployed to handle the dispersed protests which merged into a march on central Ring Boulevard.

Police estimated the size of the protest at over 40,000, while around 1,500 staged counter-protests.

Officers used pepper spray against some protesters who fired fireworks at police and arrested some protesters, police said.

A parliamentary committee this week approved doubling the length of the lockdown to 20 days, which the government says is the longest it will last. Read more

Austria, a country of 8.9 million people, has reported nearly 1.2 million cases of coronavirus and more than 12,000 COVID-19-related deaths since the pandemic began last year.

New cases have been declining since the start of containment, the terms of which are an exception for protests.

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Reporting by François Murphy and Lisi Niesner; Written by Michael Shields; Editing by Alex Richardson

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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