(Arutz Sheva Staff ) Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Austria’s capital over the weekend to protest plans to impose a new nationwide COVID lockdown, and a planned vaccine mandate.
Some 38,000 protesters rallied in Vienna Saturday afternoon, Krone reported, with demonstrators demanding an end to Austria’s far-reaching COVID restrictions and the cancellation of the proposed national vaccine mandate, tentatively scheduled to begin February 1st.
While the protest was largely peaceful, some demonstrators shot fireworks and threw soda cans and bottles at police officers, according to the Austria Press Agency. At least five protesters were arrested.
Just over one-third of Austrians are unvaccinated, giving the country one of the lowest COVID vaccination rates in the European Union.
On Friday, Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced that starting Monday, Austria will be under strict lockdown, expanding the lockdown on the unvaccinated to include all Austrians, regardless of vaccination status.
Schallenberg also announced that the country will make vaccines mandatory starting on February 1st.
Roughly 65% of Austria’s nearly nine million people have received the COVID jab, while some three million people – including two million over the age of 12 – are unvaccinated.