Europe’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates spark violent protests

Violent demonstrations broke out in protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates, lockdowns all across Europe under tough rules that will curb the winter waves of this virus.

To protest these new steps, demonstrators gathered in Austria (Croatian), Italy, Northern Ireland and France’s Guadeloupe to demonstrate their anger.

In the Netherlands, a second night of riots broke out Saturday over a partial lockdown, one day after police opened fire on people protesting the rules in Rotterdam.

BBC reports that protesters set fire to bikes in The Hague and hurled fireworks at officers, while cops used dogs, horses and batons as a way to drive the demonstrators away.

A rock was apparently hurled through an ambulance that had a patient inside, according to police

Officials said that at least five officers sustained injuries in the melees. One was taken by ambulance with a leg injury.

People burn bengalos as they take part in a demonstration against the country's coronavirus restrictions in Vienna, Austria.
People burn bengalos as they take part in a demonstration against the country’s coronavirus restrictions in Vienna, Austria.
AP Photo/Lisa Leutner

Despite more than 70 percent of the country being fully vaccinated, it imposed a three-week partial lockdown last weekend after recording a record spike in cases.

At 8 pm, bars and restaurants are required to close. Crowds at sporting events are strictly prohibited.

In Northern Ireland, several hundred people opposed to vaccine passports gathered outside City Hall in Belfast, where the Christmas market opened Saturday — and proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test was necessary to enter.

A man shows a poster reading: 'Against Passes. Stop the covid noose. Freedom' during a demonstration against the reinforced measures of the Belgium government
A man shows a poster reading: ‘Against Passes. Stop the covid noose. Freedom’ during a demonstration against the reinforced measures of the Belgium government.
AP Photo/Olivier Matthys

In Italy, 3,000 protesters showed up to Circus Maximus, an ancient chariot-racing ground in Rome, to protest against “Green Pass” vaccine certificates required at local workplaces, restaurants, cinemas, theaters, sports venues and gyms.

“People like us never give up,” read one banner in the red, white and green colors of the Italian flag.

Tens of thousands of people, including far-right groups, also joined protests in Austria on Saturday after the government announced a new national lockdown and plans to make the vaccine a requirement in February 2022.

Protesters chanted, “Resistance!” and blew whistles in the massive Heldenplatz square ahead of the lockdown, which will start Monday and last 10 days but could go up to 20.

Patrols on a street alongside a demonstration against measures to battle the coronavirus pandemic in Austria on November 20, 2021.
Police officers occupying a street to protest measures against the Austrian coronavirus epidemic on November 20-21, 2021.
AP Photo/Florian Schroetter
Police officers argue with protestors during a demonstration against the reinforced measures in Belgium.
Officers of the police confront protestors at a demonstration in opposition to reinforced Belgium measures.
AP Photo/Olivier Matthys

Only for medical reasons, such as to buy groceries or exercise, will people be allowed to go out of their home.

On Saturday, demonstrators toss bottles and cans of beer at police officers, and then they used pepper spray on the protestors.

Police said several protesters were detained, though didn’t provide specific numbers.

In Croatia, thousands of protestors gathered with flags, nationalist, and religious symbols, to oppose mandatory vaccinations for public sector workers.

In Switzerland, 2,000 people gathered to oppose an upcoming referendum on whether to approve the government’s COVID-19 restrictions law, claiming it was discriminatory, public broadcaster SRF reported.

Violent protests also broke out on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, one of France’s overseas territories.

Anti-riot forces clear the streets of The Hague as riots erupt amid new COVID-19 restrictions on November 20, 2021 in The Hague, Netherlands
The streets of The Hague are cleared by anti-riot police as the riots that broke out under new COVID-19 limitations on November 20, 2021, The Hague (Netherlands)
Pierre Crom/Getty Images
Protesters watch smoke flares on as street in Rotterdam, Netherlands on November 20, 2021.
Protesters observe smoke flares being used on the streets of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, November 20, 2021.
Sven Simcic – Video In Verzet via REUTERS

Protesters staged road blockades and set cars on fire in response to France’s COVID-19 health pass that is required to enter restaurants and cafes, cultural venues and sport arenas.

At least 29 people were detained by authorities overnight, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said.

French officials said that they would send 200 additional officers to the island. On Tuesday, they will enforce a nightly curfew starting at 6 p.m. and ending at 5 a.m.

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