The situation around the COVID-19 constraints is heating up for the citizens of multiple countries. Peaceful protests escalate into armed clashes with state forces around the world. Only during the last month, there were numerous protests, dispersed by the police force, often using violence. With the help of centreforum.org, we documented some of the recent ones.
Ireland, March 1
In Dublin, a demonstration opposite the lockdown escalated into encounters with the policemen. 23 people were arrested, three guards were injured.
It is already the third strict quarantine regime in Ireland. It will continue at least until April 5. Free movement is allowed only within 5 km from home.
Nearly 60% of Irish residents complain of mental health problems associated with the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey by the National Statistical Office.
Austria, March 6
In Vienna on Saturday, March 6, several hundred people took part in protests against government measures to fight the coronavirus. According to the Austrian Media, some of the demonstrators arrived at the capital from other cities on tourist buses, specifically to support this action. For protest under the slogan “Democracy, Fundamental Rights and Freedom”, among others, the right-wing “Austrian Freedom Party” had earlier called for a protest. Notice to the police for the March 6 mass event indicated that the number of participants would be 3,000.
Demonstrators demanded a weakening of quarantine measures in the country and the resignation of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. The police did not interfere with the protestors but checked whether they were wearing masks and whether they observed social distance.
Serbia, March 20
Serbs took to the streets of Belgrade, protesting against the quarantine due to COVID-19. It all started with the fact that the Serbian authorities lifted quarantine restrictions before the parliamentary elections. And then they were forced to reintroduce them due to the increase in the number of cases. This fact took citizens of Belgrade to the streets with a protest. The protests were marked by riots, fights with police and demands for the resignation of President Aleksandar Vucic. TV has shown rioters throwing different stuff at the police, and one of the revolutionary-minded groups tried to storm the government building. The police responded with truncheons and tear gas.
On the same day, the Serbian President declared a curfew in the capital. “The situation in Belgrade is critical, and in four other cities, it is alarming. From tomorrow, a ban will be imposed on gatherings of more than five people, and a long curfew is imposed from Friday to Monday”, he said, addressing the nation.
Germany, March 20
According to law enforcement agencies, at least 20 thousand participants gathered for the action called “Free Citizens of Kassel – Fundamental Rights and Democracy” in the city centre. The protestors did not adhere to the mask regime and social distance rule and did not follow the instructions of the authorities.
According to media reports, attacks on journalists are known. One of the photojournalists was hit in the face. The protestors tried several times to break through the police cordon, the policemen had to use batons and pepper gas. Several arrests were carried out. After the police tried to prevent the march, it came riots and clashes between protestors and law enforcement officers and participants in a nearby retaliatory demonstration.