'It's not right what's going on': Anti-lockdown protests continue in Belgium, Austria and Slovenia

Police officers stand in line on the Museumplein in Amsterdam as Nederland in Verzet action group called for a protest against the Covid-19 guidelines
Police officers stand in line on the Museumplein in Amsterdam as Nederland in Verzet action group called for a protest against the Covid-19 guidelines Copyright STRINGER/AFP
By Katy Dartford with AFP, EVN
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Resistance is growing after nearly a year of restrictions on businesses, travel, and community life.


Demonstrations against lockdown measures continued on Sunday in cities across Europe.

Hundreds of protesters in Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands were detained by police after the economic and social toll of living with coronavirus restrictions prompted thousands of people to defy bans on public gatherings.


Although all rallies in the capital were cancelled, about 5000 people gathered in Vienna's central Maria Theresien square for an unregistered corona "walk".

The crowd included right-wing extremists and various opponents of the Austrian government's measures. As the mood became increasingly heated, police had to block routes, and several people were arrested.

“I am here to demonstrate for democracy in this country." said one protester, "The cancellation of political rallies and of demonstrations reminds the events in February 1934.”


In Brussels, police arrested scores of protesters at two banned demonstrations.

Belgium has registered one of the highest death rates in the world during the coronavirus pandemic.

The nation of 11 million has seen over 20,800 confirmed virus deaths but restrictions closing bars and restaurants since October along with a night-time curfew have brought infection and hospital cases down and many feel it's time to lift restrictions.

"I am here because I think it is not right at all what is going on, just because of a virus that does not kill that many people." said one protester.

"Now, people are dying, starving, they can't work and earn money, so I don't find that normal."


Last week Belgium’s neighbour the Netherlands was rocked by anti-curfew riots. On Sunday in Amsterdam, a heavy police presence thwarted a mainly peaceful but unauthorised demonstration at Museum Square.


The closure of schools in Zasavje and Obalno-kraška after only they had only opened for a week following a ten-week closure brought out protesters.

Parents say they are outraged as they say rises in COVID-19 cases are actually in the nursing homes and not in the common population.

They believe that the closure of schools is causing irreparable damage to their children.

Prime Minister Janez Jansa responded, writing on Twitter that it was unreasonable and dangerous to exploit children for political purposes during the epidemic.

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