Days after Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) announced the imposition of draconian nationwide lockdown exclusively for unvaccinated citizens, political and military leaders have called for massive protests against the new measures.
Freedom Party (FPÖ) Chairman Herbert Kickl and Federal Armed Forces Union (FGÖ-BHG) President Manfred Haidinger have urged all Austrians to gather in Vienna this Saturday to protest the state’s unprecedented decision to blanketly exclude unvaccinated citizens from public life, Wochen Blick reports.
The demonstrations are “for freedom, human dignity and are against the division of society through an irresponsible corona policy of the government, which makes the population the scapegoat for their failure,” Kickl, the FPÖ chief, wrote on social media.
“Everyone is invited to be there, because everyone is directly or indirectly affected by the madness. In the face of this huge challenge we all face, this worldview must no longer play a role. With this demo, we want to be a platform for everyone who no longer wants to sit and watch.”
A day after Kickl announced the “Demonstration for Freedom and Human Dignity,” Haidinger published a letter that not only expressed the union’s fervent support for the planned demonstration but also called on ordinary citizens to join the struggle to “protect the fundamental rights and freedoms” of all Austrians.
In the letter, Haidinger assures readers that “everyone” is authorized to demonstrate, even if there’s a lockdown place, noting that “the ban on meetings scheduled by citizens as well as the ban on a gathering of political parties have both been recognized as illegal” by the Vienna Administrative Court.
The Federal Armed Forces Union’s decision to oppose lockdowns that exclusively target the unvaccinated comes after Hermann Greylinger, the chairman of the Social Democratic Union (FSG) group in the police union, publicly slammed the interior minister’s plan to have police carry out “green pass checks” against Austrian citizens.
“Checking unvaccinated people is the task of the health authorities,” said Greylinger, adding that the controls would hardly work.
Earlier this week, videos were posted to social media of thousands of Austrians taking to the streets of Salzburg, Innsbruck, and elsewhere to demonstrate against the government’s new lockdown measures against the unvaccinated. Protestors can be heard shouting “freedom” while decrying the newly imposed “two-class system” and “apartheid lockdown.”
Video footage of Austrian police conducting random checks on citizens to enforce the new lockdown measures has also been circulating throughout social media, prompting widespread condemnation. On Tuesday, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said that on Monday alone, around 15,000 police checks were carried out across the country, adding that some 120 violators were found and punished.