Covid-19 protests: Vienna considers daytime ban on demonstrations

Demonstrators carry a banner saying 'No to vaccination' as they pass the State Opera during a previous rally
Demonstrators carry a banner saying 'No to vaccination' as they pass the State Opera during a previous rally. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP
Protests in Vienna might only be allowed to take place in the evening following several weekends of demonstrations in the capital against Covid-19 measures.

From this weekend, the City of Vienna is considering a new rule that will ban protests or demonstrations from taking place in the city centre until after 6pm.

The reason is to ensure businesses are not interrupted during the last weekend of trade before Christmas, with Vienna city centre expected to be busy with shoppers and motorists.

Shops will also be open on Sunday this weekend after special rules were granted to allow retailers to catch up on trade following the latest national lockdown.

READ MORE: How you can get vouchers to eat for free at Vienna restaurants

According to the Kurier, a ban on protests is not usually possible due to basic human rights laws in Austria, but if a protest will cause a “disproportionate disruption to public life” then action can be taken.

A report in the Kleine Zeitung says the demo ban will only take place during retail opening times, although the City of Vienna is currently negotiating with organisers of the Covid-19 protests in a bid to avoid introducing the ban.

Additionally, a planned Wreath of Lights counter-protest on Vienna’s Ringstrasse, planned as a memorial to the victims of Covid-19, will also have to be moved until after 6pm if the legislation is passed. 

READ ALSO: Austria tightens Covid quarantine rules due to Omicron spread

Organisers originally planned a socially-distanced one minute silence while wearing masks and holding candles at 4.30pm. Instead, the Wreath of Lights will start at 6.30pm with a one minute silence at 7pm.

In recent weeks, tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets every Saturday in Vienna to protest against Covid-19 measures, including the planned Impfpflicht (mandatory vaccination), as reported by The Local.

Vaccination against Covid-19 is set to be obligatory in Austria from February for all residents older than 14, with exceptions for people that can’t be vaccinated due to health reasons.

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