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27 Dec, 2021 07:00

Anti-lockdown protesters bring ‘Sea of Lights’ to Vienna (VIDEO)

Opponents of compulsory vaccination and other strict Covid measures held a candlelight vigil in Austria’s capital, Vienna on Sunday after the authorities once again extended the lockdown for the unvaccinated.

Protesters marched through central Vienna with candles and lights, carrying signs that read, “When injustice becomes a right, resistance becomes a duty,” and “Stay away from our children.”

Between 2,000 and 4,000 people attended the gathering, according to Austrian media.

The ‘Sea of Lights’ rally was held in response to a demonstration of the same name in Vienna on December 19, when around 40,000 people gathered to honor the victims of the pandemic. Last week’s rally was organized on social media by supporters of vaccination, Heute newspaper said.

Overall, 18 protests against compulsory vaccination and other strict Covid measures were held across Austria on Sunday. The next major protest is expected on January 8.

Austria is the first EU country to introduce a general vaccination mandate, which will take effect on February 1, 2022. In the beginning of last week, the parliament extended lockdown restrictions for the unvaccinated for another 10 days.

“Omicron is probably just around the corner and will trigger a strong fifth wave,” President Alexander Van der Bellen tweeted at the time, urging the public to receive a third dose of the vaccine.

Health Minister Wolfgang Muckstein also recommended receiving a booster shot. Austria cannot stop the Omicron variant, but “can gain time to prepare in the best possible way,” he told Austrian media.