Protests in Amsterdam and Vienna took place over the weekend.
Some 10,000 Austrians marched through the streets of Vienna in opposition to the country’s coronavirus restrictions, whilst large crowds also gathered in Amsterdam to express their frustration with the Dutch lockdown.
— Karoline de Oliveira (@karolineoliro) January 16, 2021
In Italy restaurants in orange and red zones opened their doors to customers in defiance of the country’s lockdown rules, with reports suggesting 50,000 businesses took part in the civil disobedience.
The wave of unrest follows several months of varying degrees of lockdown, with protestors, business owners and many customers appearing to have had enough.
Despite the protest, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz extended his country’s lockdown until February 7, and also mandated the public to wear full protective masks on public transport and in shops, instead of cloth face coverings.
The nation of 8.9 million inhabitants has suffered almost 7,000 deaths and 390,000 positive cases.
The Dutch protest proceeded without a permit, prompting police to engage demonstrators with water cannons in an effort to disperse the crowd.
People waved flags, sang and carried signs that read: “Freedom: stop this siege”.
Thousands have gathered in #Amsterdam to protest the national lockdowns. Riot police used water cannons to disperse protesters. Authorities extended #COVID19 restrictions last week, including the closure of schools and non-essential stores. pic.twitter.com/zXJMQliY2j
— CGTN Global Watch (@GlobalWatchCGTN) January 18, 2021
The protest comes after Dutch authorities announced an extension to the country’s lockdown until February 9. The government is reported to be considering a night time curfew in order to reduce social contacts among the population.
Italian business owners meanwhile seem determined to remain open after flouting closure orders on their restaurants and cafes.
Speaking to Euronews, Rome pizzeria owner Max Vietri said: “If this civil disobedience – because that’s what it is, it’s civil disobedience – is successful, I would like to stay open.
“I have always wanted to stay open. I don’t want to close anymore. Either all business close, as we did last March then that’s ok with me but you cannot force me to shut down and leave other businesses open.
“You must have clear rules. This is a Government that changes the rules every week. That is absurd.”
Another businessman, Armando Minotti said he would face the fines rather than close.
“We can’t do this anymore. This is what we could call a polite protest,” Minotti said.
“Surely the guards will come but we will let them in. We will get a fine but we are have decided to stay open and we won’t close anymore.
“Because it’s impossible to go on like this.”