Videos of Austrian police demanding vaccine passports from shoppers are circulating online, shocking civil liberties defenders around the world.
Austria recently implemented a rule that put those without a vaccine passport on lockdown, while the fully vaccinated can go about their daily activities.
In one video, a group of officers is seen patrolling a mall. The three officers then approach a group of shoppers who appear to be holding out their vaccine papers.
Another video shows police demanding vaccine papers from drivers at roadblocks.
As a result of an increase in cases, the Austrian government announced a 10-day lockdown for those who have not been vaccinated. Disobeying the lockdown rule attracts a €500 fine, while refusing to show a vaccine passport could result in a €1,450 penalty. The law came to effect on Monday.
“We are not taking this step lightly, but unfortunately it is necessary,” said Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg.
“In reality we have told one third of the population: you will not leave your [home] apart from for certain reasons.
“That is a massive reduction in contacts between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.”
The lockdown sparked protests outside the chancellor’s residence in the nation’s capital Wien, and also across the country.