Published On: Thu, May 20th, 2021

Weapons seized in raids by police in Austria on opponents of coronavirus curbs

Authorities in Austria said Thursday they seized weapons and ammunition in raids on radical opponents of coronavirus restrictions.

The interior ministry said that the investigation stemmed from a Telegram chat group in which people discussed things such as building Molotov cocktails and bombs or buying weapons, the Austria Press Agency reported. They allegedly talked about using firebombs against police officers.

The posts talked of violence planned for a protest in Vienna on May 15, and authorities carried out searches the previous day in various part of the country.

A closed restaurant at Woerther Lake near Klagenfurt, Austria, earlier this month. Restaurants re-opened in Austria on May 19 as coronavirus restrictions were eased.Barbara Gindl / AFP – Getty Images

They found weapons, including two handguns, and large quantities of ammunition as well as two swords, protective vests, helmets and radio devices.

Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said that “the paramilitary equipment is almost reminiscent of terrorist groups.”

It wasn’t immediately clear how many people were involved, but Austrian media reported that there were no immediate arrests.

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Austria, like many other European countries, is emerging from months of closures and other restrictions designed to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Restaurants, theaters, cinemas and sports facilities reopened on Wednesday, and hotels were allowed to receive guests again. In many situations, people using facilities have to prove that they have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from Covid-19.

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