On Sunday, opponents of mandatory vaccination and other severe Covid restrictions organized a candlelight vigil in Vienna, Austria’s capital, after the authorities prolonged the lockdown for the unvaccinated once more.
Protesters carried posters that read, “When injustice becomes a right, resistance becomes a duty,” and “Stay away from our children” as they marched through central Vienna with candles and lights.
According to Austrian media, the event gathered between 2,000 and 4,000 people.
The ‘Sea of Lights’ rally was held in reaction to a similar demonstration in Vienna on December 19, which drew over 40,000 people to remember the pandemic’s victims. Vaccination supporters used social media to arrange last week’s event, according to the Heute newspaper.
On Sunday, there have been 18 rallies across Austria against mandatory vaccination and other severe Covid regulations. The next large demonstration is scheduled for January 8.
Austria is the first EU country to impose a mandatory vaccination schedule, which will begin on February 1, 2022. The parliament extended the lockdown restrictions for the unvaccinated for another ten days at the beginning of last week.
President Alexander Van der Bellen tweeted at the time, asking the public to get a third dose of the vaccination since “Omicron is probably just around the corner and will spark a strong fifth wave.”
Minister of Health Wolfgang Muckstein also suggested getting a booster shot. He told Austrian media that while Austria cannot stop the Omicron variant, it can “gain time to prepare in the best possible way.”