Thousands turn out for Vienna anti-lockdown protest

Thousands turn out for Vienna anti-lockdown protest

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VIENNA: Thousands turned out on Saturday for the latest protest in Vienna against coronavirus restrictions and several arrests were made for breaching public order laws and Covid regulations, police said.

Many of the protesters did not wear masks or observe social distancing as they made their way through the centre of the Austrian capital to a park where the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) had called a rally.

Austria eased its latest lockdown last month and reopened schools, shops and museums.

However protesters voiced opposition to the restrictions still in place, including the closure of restaurants and cafes as well as the tests school pupils must take to attend in-person lessons.

Former interior minister Herbert Kickl accused the government of “dancing on the edge of lunacy” in a speech to the crowd.

“It’s all so weird and mad, no Hollywood director could make it up,” Kickl said of the remaining restrictions.

Demonstrators chanted slogans and held placards seeking the resignation of centre-right Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

Isolated scuffles were reported between protestors and left-wing counter-demonstrators.

Extreme-right elements, including neo-Nazis, have been present at previous anti-lockdown protests.

Such demonstrations have been increasingly common in recent months as citizens chafe against the continuing restrictions on normal life.__Dawn.com

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