Amid spiking coronavirus cases, Austria announced on Friday that it would implement a full national lockdown, and would also legislate a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all eligible citizens – the first of its kind in a Western nation. Austria is one of several European countries to dictate more stringent COVID-19 restrictions as a fourth coronavirus wave sweeps the continent. Following the introduction of rigid regulations, protests and riots exploded across Europe.
Three people were hospitalized late Friday after police opened fire on lockdown protesters in downtown Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Rioters reportedly torched cars, launched fireworks, and attacked police. Police attempted to control the crowd with water cannons. Dutch police said that 51 people were arrested during the demonstration against the new COVID-19 restrictions.
Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb called the riot an “orgy of violence.”
Local political party Leefbaar Rotterdam condemned the violence, “The center of our beautiful city has this evening transformed into a war zone,” it said. “Rotterdam is a city where you can disagree with things that happen but violence is never, never, the solution.”
The protests continued in the Netherlands on Saturday, when rioters set fires in Hague.
In Austria’s capital of Vienna, tens of thousands marched against the draconian COVID-19 restrictions.
In Italy, thousands of Roman protesters rallied against the country’s “Green Pass” – the country’s certificate of COVID-19 vaccination required to go into workplaces, restaurants, gyms, theaters, and sports venues.
In Croatia, thousands gathered in the capital of Zagreb to demonstrate against the government possibly introducing a COVID-19 vaccine pass that would be needed to enter stores, restaurants, gyms, and cinemas.
In Denmark, the government is considering reinstituting COVID-19 restrictions that they just lifted in September. Protesters railed against the potential COVID-19 orders.