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Ladybbird 22-11-21 13:11

Europe REVOLTS as COVID Restrictions Return
Protests in Europe as Covid Restrictions Return

Rage across Europe as Covid rules trigger riots

Austria back in lockdown despite protests

BBC News 22 NOV 2021







Tens of thousands of people protested in the capital Vienna ahead of the lockdown. Brandishing national flags and banners reading "Freedom", protesters shouted "Resistance!" and booed the police.

Europe is facing an increasingly violent backlash against fresh Covid restrictions imposed to deal with a record number of new cases on the Continent, as a fifth wave spreads at "lightning speed". Riot police used water cannons and tear gas as peaceful demonstrations turned ugly in Brussels last night, when tens of thousands of protesters marched through the streets.

Demonstrators smashed the glass at the entrance to a European Commission building after young men in hoods attacked police vans with baseball bats. View pictures and videos. It came on another night of disorder in the Netherlands over the introduction of new coronavirus restrictions, after police opened fire on the crowds.

There were also violent scenes in Austria, Italy, Croatia, Denmark and Switzerland amid clampdowns by European governments on civil liberties to curb a steep increase in the number of infections that are putting healthcare systems under strain.

As Europe endured fresh violence, Sajid Javid, the UK Health Secretary, insisted no such measures were necessary in Britain - saying he hoped people can "look forward to Christmas together". He played down the likelihood of tougher curbs being introduced in England as he highlighted the "one big difference". Mr Javid also said booster vaccinations are now being considered for all adults.

Meanwhile, experts have warned that the hidden backlog of NHS patients will surge because the Government is set to miss its target to recruit 6,000 more GPs.

'A Sledgehammer' to Cut Cases

This is Austria's fourth national lockdown since the pandemic began.

Authorities have ordered residents to stay home for all but essential reasons, including work, exercise and shopping for food.

Restaurants, bars, hairdressers, theatres and non-essential shops must all close their doors. These measures will continue until 12 December, although officials said they will be reassessed after 10 days.

Speaking on ORF TV on Sunday night, health minister Wolfgang Mueckstein said the government had to "react now".

"A lockdown, a relatively tough method, a sledgehammer, is the only option to reduce the numbers [of infections] here," he reportedly told the broadcaster.

Demonstrations and Unrest

Several European countries saw angry protests against tougher restrictions turn violent over the weekend.

In Belgium's capital, Brussels, demonstrators clashed with police after tens of thousands of people marched through the city centre.

Protesters are mainly opposed to Covid passes that stop the unvaccinated from entering cafes, restaurants and entertainment venues.

The march started peacefully but some launched stones and fireworks at officers, who responded with tear gas and water cannon.

Across the border in the Netherlands, rioting took place for the third night in a row.

Local media report that police arrested 15 people in the southern city of Roosendaal where a primary school was set ablaze. An emergency order has also been imposed in the town of Enschede to keep people off the streets overnight.

On Saturday, people hurled fireworks at police and set fire to bicycles in The Hague. That followed what Rotterdam's mayor called "an orgy of violence" on Friday, when officers opened fire after protesters threw rocks and fireworks and set police cars ablaze.

Four people thought to have been hit by police bullets remain in hospital, authorities said on Sunday.

The Netherlands is under a three-week nationwide partial lockdown, forcing restaurants to shut earlier and banning fans at sports events.

Protesters are also angry at a ban on fireworks on New Year's Eve and government plans to introduce a vaccine pass for indoor venues.

Thousands of demonstrators were also on the streets in Croatia's capital Zagreb on Saturday, while in Denmark around 1,000 people protested in Copenhagen against government plans to order public sector workers to be vaccinated in order to enter workplaces.

The French Caribbean department of Guadeloupe, meanwhile, has been rocked by three days of looting and vandalism, over a mandatory vaccine order for health workers as well as high fuel prices.

Some 38 people were reportedly arrested and special police forces were sent to the island on Sunday in a bid to quell the unrest after protesters ransacked and torched shops.


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