International Protests and Riots Concerning Covid Mandates


Photo provided by J. Kllamar.

A member of Austria’s far-right freedom party lighting a smoke bomb during a demonstration.

On December fifth, citizens all over the world marched and protested the placement of Covid mandates, sometimes ending in violence.

Following the continued rise of Covid cases in many countries worldwide, nations’ leaders enacted more and more mandates to which the people have not been responding well. Protests in the tens of thousands continue to take place throughout countries like Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Australia to try and halt the passage of mandates.

“Covid vaccinations will be mandatory from Feb. 1 [2022], making Austria the first European country to introduce compulsory vaccination,” said Holly Ellyatt, a journalist for CNBC focused on European macroeconomics and politics.

Following this vaccination mandate, Austrian citizens took to the streets to protest not only the mandate, but also the fourth nationwide lockdown enforced by the government.

“Tens of thousands of protesters, many from far-right groups, have marched through Vienna after the Austrian government announced a nationwide lockdown from Monday to contain skyrocketing Coronavirus infections,” said Al Jazeera News.

“When you start to see those things happening, you start to say, well my government is no longer serving me, or most of its constituents.”

Donna Aliperti

As global Covid cases continue to rise since October 2021, many countries have entered similar states to Austria, entering lockdowns and seeing their people protest. But some have responded poorly.

“Protesters were blocked from reaching the roundabout outside the EU headquarters by barbed-wire barricades and a line of riot officers,” said Al Jazeera News.

The barbed-wire and riot officers aren’t among the worst of reactions.

“Ahmed Aboutaleb, the mayor of Rotterdam, said that police ‘felt it necessary to draw their weapons to defend themselves,’” said Sharon Pruitt-Young in an article written for NPR.

Some people feel as though these citizens should have no need to worry and that they should trust in their government. Looking at one specific example may demonstrate why people are protesting.

“On July 16, Yanghee Lee, the former UN Special Reporter on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, warned: ‘The junta is weaponizing Covid-19 for its own political gain by suffocating the democracy movement and seeking to gain the legitimacy and control it craves…by deliberately fueling a humanitarian disaster and then co-opting the international response,’” said Time reporter Emily Fishbein.

This idea has flooded the minds of citizens in other countries, although it may not be the ultimate goal of the government. Regardless, even some U.S. citizens have begun to question the actions of our government.

“So on August 26th, not only was the [vaccine] mandated for all healthcare workers in New York State, on the 28th just a day or two after that mandate came down, the Department of Health in New York State removed the Civil Title VII right for any employee or employer to engage in a religious exemption process,” said Donna Aliperti, a former nurse of 30 years. “When you start to see those things happening, you start to say, well my government is no longer serving me, or most of its constituents.”

Aliperti served as a nurse for 30 years, but upon refusing the vaccine was released from her job. This is not the only profession being affected, as the pandemic also has lawmakers in Australia fearing for their lives.

“Lawmakers who support the bill have reported receiving death threats and being targets of abuse,” stated Yan Zhuang in an article for the New York Times.

Regardless of these dangerous warnings, many governments continue to push forward, followed now by universities and colleges mandating booster shots.

“You either take it and try to live a normal college experience, or you don’t have any college experience,” said Nolan Furina, a sophomore at SUNY Binghamton.

The world continues to watch and wait, anxious to see what the future holds.