Western Europe

44 thousand people protest against COVID-19 vaccination in Vienna

11:30, 12 December 2021
44 thousand people protest against COVID-19 vaccination in Vienna Photo: Dirk Waem/Keystone Press Agency/Global Look Press

Tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of the Austrian capital to protest the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination and self-isolation regime for those who have not yet been vaccinated.

Police reported 44,000 people took part in the protest on Saturday. Protesters, backed by the far-right party, have opposed the government's decision to make coronavirus vaccines mandatory since February.

They were carrying banners that read "No mandatory vaccinations." Small demonstrations also took place in the cities of Klagenfurt and Linz.

The vaccination should be mandatory from February for all persons over 14 years old, except in cases where it is necessary for health reasons. Those who don’t want to be vaccinated will have to pay a fine of €3,600 as a person can go to prison for four months for refusing to pay a fine. 

In case of ignoring two notifications from the authorities about the need to vaccinate the violator will pay a €7.200 fine. The fine will not apply to people for whom there is a risk to life and health due to the vaccination, as well as pregnant women and adolescents under 12 years of age.

The Austrian authority introduced a nationwide lockdown from November 22 to December 12 amid the fourth wave of the pandemic. The government's measures against the coronavirus proved to be unpopular in Austrian society and led to massive protests.