Thousands turned out Saturday for the latest protest in Vienna against coronavirus restrictions and several arrests were made for breaching public order laws and Covid regulations, AFP reported.
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. But the demonstrators voiced opposition to the restrictions still in place, including the closure of restaurants and cafes as well as the tests that school pupils must take to attend in-person lessons.
Demonstrators chanted slogans and held placards seeking the resignation of centre-right Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Hostility to the media was in evidence with the chant “Luegenpresse” or “lying press” being used.
Isolated scuffles were reported between protesters and left-wing counter-demonstrators, with police using tear gas to separate them on at least one occasion.
Austrian media reported that extreme-right elements, including convicted neo-Nazi Gottfried Kuessel, were seen among the crowds, as they have been at previous anti-lockdown protests.
Police said that some of the arrests were made at the end of the protest when some participants refused to disperse.
Such demonstrations have been increasingly common in recent months as citizens chafe against the continuing restrictions on normal life and their economic impact.