Unvaxed Austrian Populist Leader Could Be Barred from Large Events

Former Austrian Interior Minister and chairman of Austria's right-wing FPOe party Her
HANS PUNZ/APA/AFP via Getty Images

Unvaccinated Austrian populist Freedom Party (FPÖ) leader Herbert Kickl could be banned from attending large political events as the city of Vienna tightens its Wuhan virus rules.

Vienna mayor Michael Ludwig of the left-wing Social Democrats (SPÖ) announced that, starting in October, large events exceeding 500 people, both indoor and outdoor, will require full vaccination or proof that an individual has recovered from the coronavirus and has antibodies.

The new rules will also cover customers dining at restaurants and bars during the evenings, though unvaccinated employees will be able to work if they pass a coronavirus PCR test, Kronen Zeitung reports.

The new rules will make political life for the FPÖ leader more difficult as he will be banned from attending large outdoor events as he is both unvaccinated and has not had the virus.

Earlier this week, Mr Kickl dispelled rumours that he had been secretly vaccinated by providing the results of an antibody test that he said proved he did not have any coronavirus antibodies.

“Whether or not someone gets vaccinated against corona has to be their free choice. That’s the freedom of access. I am not vaccinated,” Kickl said in a statement.

During the course of the pandemic, Mr Kickl, who took over as FPÖ leader earlier this year, has been a fierce critic of coronavirus lockdowns and has attended and given speeches at large demonstrations in Vienna.

He also promised to end pressure on those who do not wish to take the vaccine and said there should be no disadvantage for people who “refuse the vaccination for good reasons.”

In March, Kickl addressed a crowd of thousands in Vienna’s Heldenplatz outside of the Hofburg Palace in the heart of the city and slammed prior travel restrictions in Austria, saying: “The whole thing is so weird and crazy that no Hollywood director could invent it.”

He has also been a critic of vaccine passports and the pandemic strategy of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Earlier this month, Kickl claimed that strict measures, such as making unvaccinated people wear FFP2 certified masks, were further dividing the population.

Formerly Austria’s Interior Minister under the former conservative-populist government that collapsed in 2019, Mr Kickl is well-known as a political firebrand and has strong anti-mass migration views.

Shortly after becoming FPO leader in June, Kickl stated that the Austrian conservative-green coalition should move to ban granting citizenship to Turkish citizens, arguing that Islamist president Recep Tayyip Erdogan was interested in using Turkish nationals to exert influence in Europe.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com


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