Austrian Government Warns of ‘Radicalisation’ After Weekend of Lockdown Protests

A demonstrator holds up a placard which reads "Austria's Lockdown Chancellor&quo
JOE KLAMAR/AFP via Getty Images

Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer warned of increasing signs of “radicalisation” among anti-lockdown protestors as the country entered a full lockdown for all residents this week.

Minister Nehammer made his remarks following a protest against the lockdowns on Saturday in Vienna that saw an estimated 38-40,000 people take to the streets, the largest protest against Wuhan coronavirus restrictions since the start of the pandemic.

According to Nehammer, the protests have become “significantly radicalised.” In the city of Linz over the weekend a police vehicle had been attacked with a firebomb and the perpetrators later admitted they had wanted to set the vehicle on fire as well as officers, Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung reports.

“This level of radicalisation is unacceptable in any way. In addition, there had been death threats against ministers and chancellors. In this mood, the demo took place in Vienna. This demonstration shows the image of a very different group,” Nehammer said.

Among the protestors in Vienna over the weekend, it is alleged were also far-right extremists who media have claimed attempted to increase tensions at the protest.

Despite this, the level of violence was low with just ten people arrested and only two police officers of the 1,300 policing the demonstration were slightly injured during the handful of clashes that took place during the day and in the evening on Saturday, while no protestors were reported as injured.

The relative calm was contrasted by other protests against lockdowns over the weekend in other European Union member states such as the Netherlands and Belgium where protests developed into violent riots and saw protestors clash with police.

As of Monday, the Austrian government has placed all residents under strict lockdown measures for the next ten to twenty days after the number of average daily deaths tripled in the last few weeks.

Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg also stated that as of February of next year, all residents would be mandated to take the coronavirus vaccine and those who refuse could face stiff fines and even potential prison time for not complying.

Only around 66 per cent of Austrians are currently vaccinated against the Wuhan coronavirus as daily new cases reached a record high on Friday.

The announcement of the Austrian lockdown came just days after the government had initially stated that only the unvaccinated would be placed into lockdown, a move Brexit leader Nigel Farage slammed and called “dark times for freedom and liberty.”

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


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