The organizer of the largest gathering is expecting 3,000 participants, which begins at 1 p.m. on Heldenplatz and from 4 p.m. will move against the direction of travel along the ring. However, it is to be expected that these or other demonstrations will be much larger, said police spokeswoman Barbara Gass on Friday. The demo to “end health fascism”, which starts at Heldenplatz, will conclude with a rally at 6:00 p.m. on Ballhausplatz.
The MFG party is holding a stand rally between 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Schwarzenbergplatz and is expecting 250 to 2,500 participants. Around 1,000 are expected from 11.00 a.m. on Gertrude-Fröhlich-Sandner-Strasse near the Wiedner Gürtel; they walk to Babenbergerstrasse on the Opernring.
Counter-demonstration on Stephansplatz
From 12 noon a counter rally will take place on Stephansplatz, to which several groups have called – including the Austrian Students’ Union of the University of Vienna, the Socialist Youth, the Radical Left Platform, Jewish students and the concentration camp association / VdA Vienna.
“With all understanding for the fear of the virus, we have no understanding for slogans that relativize the Holocaust and practice historical revisionism, and no understanding for those who are still chasing right-wing extremist banners,” said Dagmar Schindler in advance, for example. Chairwoman of the concentration camp association / VdA Vienna. “It cannot be that we Jews in Vienna have to be afraid of leaving our house because neo-Nazis are roaming the city and there is no solidarity-based civil society response,” Jewish university students were quoted as saying .
Police officers from other federal states
The Vienna police will be on duty with around 1,200 officers, including support from other federal states. “Better a couple of cops too many than too few,” said Gass. The police must maintain protection zones for other gatherings. The fact that demonstrations interfere with each other must be prevented, but a merger of different demonstrations with the same topic is not problematic. Experience has shown that this can happen. The gathering on the popular Ring Route, for example, could grow significantly.
The police called for large gatherings like this to be avoided because of the current corona situation and the risk of infection. At the demonstrations, she checked the FFP2 mask requirement. According to Gass, the officials will have a de-escalating effect and seek dialogue. In the case of very large gatherings, there is a lack of resources to rigorously punish this administrative violation. However, one will remind of the measures, among other things, with announcements.
In any case, traffic obstructions are to be expected in Vienna on Saturday, Ringstrasse and Franz-Josefs-Kai are temporarily closed. Delays should also be planned for on the two-way line in both directions as well as on all entrances to the city center, such as Rennweg, Prinz-Eugen-Straße, Rechts Wienzeile, Favoritenstraße, Burggasse, Währinger Straße, Alser Straße, Praterstraße, Roßauer Lände or Untere Donaustraße.
Critical infrastructure is protected
According to the Ministry of the Interior, calls for actionism in front of hospitals have been repeated on social media since the announcement of the lockdown and the compulsory vaccination. So far there have been no “noteworthy incidents in this regard”, but last weekend opponents of corona measures whistled at the doctors and nursing staff in front of the entrances to the university hospital in Salzburg and chanted “resistance”.
The Ministry of the Interior has therefore announced “increased surveillance of hospitals” as part of patrol duty. On Saturday, the police will keep an eye on the situation in front of Vienna’s hospitals. “As with previous major events or demonstrations, the critical infrastructures are specially guarded so that there is no damage,” a police spokesman told Radio Vienna.