Unrest growing across Europe as Covid surges

In the News podcast: Public anger rises as governments try to halt spread of the disease

Activists participate in a music demonstration against Covid-19 measures in the centre of Breda, Netherlands, on November 20th. Photograph: AFP via Getty Images

Activists participate in a music demonstration against Covid-19 measures in the centre of Breda, Netherlands, on November 20th. Photograph: AFP via Getty Images

 

Europe is at the centre of the latest surge in Covid-19 and the rampant spread of the virus is presenting countries with some very unpleasant – and unpopular – choices.

With governments under pressure to stem the tide and support overburdened hospitals, public anger in some countries is mounting and there was violent rioting in several countries over the weekend.

In Austria, where roughly one in 100 people is currently infected with Covid-19, a widespread lockdown has been imposed and the government has said vaccination will become mandatory by February.

Tens of thousands protested in Vienna at the weekend against the measures, which the far-right opposition Freedom Party said made the country a “dictatorship”.

In Belgium about 35,000 people marched through the capital Brussels on Sunday carrying banners objecting to vaccination and Covid-19 restrictions.

And in the Netherlands there were nights of violence in various cities, as black-clad groups of youths wreaked havoc after sports events were closed to spectators, fireworks banned, and new restrictions introduced closing non-essential shops at 6pm and restaurants and supermarkets at 8pm.

Irish Times Europe Correspondent Naomi O’Leary talks to In the News about the ongoing unrest and unease across Europe.

You can listen to the podcast here:

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