Austrians chant ‘We are Jews’ at anti-coronavirus restrictions protest

A Twitter user posted a video of the protesters and criticized their chant as a “Shoah relativization. It can’t get worse.”

People demonstrate against the anti-coronavirus measures taken by the Austrian government as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Vienna, Austria, April 24, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/LEONHARD FOEGER)
People demonstrate against the anti-coronavirus measures taken by the Austrian government as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Vienna, Austria, April 24, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/LEONHARD FOEGER)
BERLIN - The police in Austria’s capital Vienna on Friday dispersed a demonstration against coronavirus restrictions where protestors chanted “We are the Jews.”
A Twitter user posted a video of the protesters and criticized their chant as a “Shoah relativization. It can’t get worse.”
The prominent Austrian Journalist Isabelle Daniel criticized the action in a Tweet: “These people had justified themselves in front of the memorial against fascism and called ‘we are the Jews.’  Can it be more pathetic?”
The Austrian media reported from a non-sanctioned demonstration involving dozens of people. The demonstrator also chanted: “We are the people.“
The demonstration located Albertina square was aimed at the new government plan to curb the deadly coronavirus.
The Austrian police told the Der Standard paper that demonstrations are banned based on the health law to prevent infections.
The protest’s organisers, the Initiative for Evidence-Based Corona Information (ICI), want the lockdown ended.
A Reuters photographer estimated the crowd at around 200 who also chanted “Kurz must go”, referring to conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
The restrictions have been in place for more than a month and helped flatten the curve of infections. The government shut bars, restaurants, schools and non-essential shops, allowing some shops to reopen last week in a first easing of the curbs.
The protest’s organizers, the Initiative for Evidence-Based Corona Information (ICI), want the lockdown ended.
They argue, among other things, that wearing face masks and fabric equivalents that are compulsory in shops and on public transport is counter-productive.
Public gatherings of more than five people remain banned, and a demonstration of five people was registered in the city for Friday afternoon. However, police then banned it, saying more would come and organizers could not guarantee to respect social distancing rules.
While there has been some criticism of some aspects of Austria’s lockdown, the opposition and public have been largely supportive, though the far-right Freedom Party now says the measures are too intrusive.

Reuters contributed to this report.