In Vienna, thousands of demonstrators against confinement and compulsory vaccination

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The demonstration was organized at the call of the far-right FPÖ party, even though its leader Herbert Kickl, who tested positive for the coronavirus, was absent.

The crowd, gathered in the heart of the Austrian capital a stone’s throw from the chancellery, waved banners denouncing “the crown dictatorship” or saying “no to the division of society.”

All under close surveillance by the police, who feared the arrival of identitarians, neo-Nazi activists and hooligans.

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A week after cracking down on the unvaccinated, Conservative Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced Friday a containment of 8.9 million inhabitants until December 13.

As of Monday, they will no longer have the right to leave their homes except for shopping, sports or for medical care. Only schools remain open but parents are encouraged not to take them to class.

Despite its initial reluctance, the government will also prepare a law to impose the vaccination of the adult population on February 1, 2022. The refractory will be exposed to sanctions.

Schallenberg apologized to those vaccinated on Friday for having to take such “drastic” restrictions.

He also attacked “political forces in this country which vehemently oppose vaccination”, denouncing an “attack on our health system”.

In a televised address, Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen warned of societal fractures which risk “growing even deeper”.

“The next few weeks will require a lot of effort on our part. We must do everything in our power to break the fourth wave and prevent the next one, ”he insisted.

In a Europe that has once again become the epicenter of the epidemic, cases have reached in recent days in Austria levels not seen since spring 2020: more than 15,000 new infections are recorded daily, while the vaccination rate is around 66% , or slightly below the European average.

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