Tightening Covid-19 restrictions across Europe sparks protests

Infection rates have risen sharply across Europe, prompting warnings from the World Health Organization (WHO).

On Saturday, Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO regional director, told the BBC that unless measures were tightened across Europe (with regards to mask-wearing and Covid-19 passes for venues) then 500,000 more deaths may be experienced by spring next year.

These new restrictions have stirred protests throughout Europe. Austrians have been asked to work from home and non-essential shops have closed, making this Austria’s fourth national lockdown since the start of the pandemic.

Austria has also become the first European country to make Covid-19 vaccination a legal requirement from February 2022. In the capital, Vienna, thousands protested this announcement.

Several other European countries experienced protests against tighter restrictions, some of which turned violent.

The French Caribbean department of Guadeloupe has been rocked by multiple days of dissent over a mandatory vaccine order for health workers in addition to high fuel prices.

In Belgium’s capital, Brussels, demonstrators clashed with police with Protesters mainly opposed to Covid-19 passes that ban the unvaccinated from entering venues like cafes and restaurants. The march started peacefully but there are reports that stones and fireworks were launched at officers who responded with tear gas.

Across the border, The Netherlands is under a three-week nationwide partial lockdown, compelling restaurants to shut earlier and banning fans at sports events. Many were arrested in Roosendaal where a primary school was set alight as part of these protests.

Demonstrators in Croatia’s capital Zagreb took to the streets in objection, while in Denmark around 1,000 people protested in Copenhagen against government plans to order public sector workers to be vaccinated.

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Una Jones

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May 2022
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