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Thousands protest against Austria’s compulsory vaccine mandate policy

Thousands gathered in Austria’s capital Vienna on Saturday to protest mandatory Covid vaccines and home confinement orders for those who have not yet received the jabs.

Police said an estimated 44,000 people attended the demonstration, the latest protests since Austria last month became the first EU country to say it would make Covid vaccinations mandatory. A partial confinement since last month ends on Sunday for the vaccinated, but those who have not received the required doses must remain at home.

“No to vaccine fascism,” read one protest sign. “I’m not a neo-Nazi or a hooligan,” said another, “I’m fighting for freedom and against the vaccine.”

Vaccination is to be obligatory from February for all residents older than 14, except in the case of a dispensation for health reasons. Nobody will be vaccinated by force, the government has said, but those who refuse the shot will have to pay an initial fine of 600 euros ($670), which can then increase to 3,600 euros ($4,000) if not settled.

Manuela, 47, said she had travelled in from out of town for the protest. Why “exclude those who aren’t vaccinated, especially children?” asked the working mother who said she was vaccinated, but did not want to give her surname. “It’s incredible discrimination not to be able to send a kid to dancing, tennis or swimming lessons.”

Analea, a 44-year-old violin teacher who also refused to give her family name, said this was “not the direction a democracy should be taking”. “We can have different opinions and values, but still live together freely,” she said.

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH 

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: THE GUARDIAN

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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