European governments are becoming increasingly hardline in their treatment of the unvaccinated with more lockdowns and fines in the thousands of dollars.
Some people are leaving. Some are fighting back.
When CBN News spoke to American Alicia Düren and her German husband Andreas, they were packing, trying to get out of Germany as quickly as possible. They've had enough of Germany's strict COVID policies.
Europe is in the midst of an uprising of the unvaccinated, pitting citizens who refuse to get the jab against governments that want to end the pandemic.
And neither side is backing down.
Nation by nation, Europe is turning into a two-tiered society in which those who refuse to be vaccinated will live under lockdown without full access to society or jobs, facing fines and even jail.
The Dürens are leaving Germany after Andreas became unable to work because of COVID restrictions.
"I'm not allowed to work anywhere anymore without providing proof of vaccination or recovery," he told CBN News.
"There's also no more privacy," Alicia noted. "Like you go into the bakery and the cashier will loudly ask you for your vaccine pass. The discrimination is terrible.
Massive protests across Europe are opposing vaccine mandates and passports (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)It's a similar situation across Europe.
In Italy, the unvaccinated now must take a COVID test every 48 hours if they want to live a free life.
Gunnar Beck, a German member of the European Parliament calls Europe's COVID policies dangerously tyrannical and authoritarian. "We are not talking about the Black Death here," Beck said. "I'm not even sure the Black Death would warrant the effective suspension of the rule of law, constitutional government, and democracy."
Austria has become ground zero for the world's toughest COVID crackdown. The unvaccinated have already been in lockdown for almost a month and next year will have to pay $4,000 in fines every three months unless they not only get vaccinated but also get booster shots.
Eric Hewitt is an American living in Austria with his wife and five children. "The government is attempting to transform the society into a totalitarian police state," Hewitt said.
Hewitt's unvaccinated children have been kicked out of music school for refusing daily COVID tests. They are only allowed to enter grocery stores and pharmacies.
"The toy store wouldn't let my wife in to buy a toy for a birthday," Hewitt explained.
Demonstrators march during a protest against coronavirus measures in Brussels, Belgium, Dec. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Medical privacy, still a law in Austria, has been breached. The state knows who has been vaccinated and who hasn't. And there are fears the government is considering a new Chinese-style digital identity system for each citizen.
Alexander Tschugguel, a Catholic activist with the St. Boniface Institute says Austrians have become the lab rats of the Western World and believes the Austrian experiment will spread.
"Do you want the government, which enforces things like abortion, homosexual marriage, which definitely shows that they not only do not follow the teaching of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ but rather fight against it? Do you want them to have every information available, full control of where you are allowed to go and where you're not allowed to go?" he asked. "Like in China? I say, No. And that's the reason we go and protest."
Hewitt has decided to stay in Austria and fight against the COVID restrictions.
"God has placed me at a critical battle in the spiritual war that we're going through," he said. "And so what I want is to restore a human society and not a sort of a bureaucratic nightmare.”
The Dürens, on the other hand, have had enough. "It's beautiful when people want to stay and fight, but we, we feel like the fight is lost here," Alicia Dueren said.
Germany is laying the groundwork for its own nationwide vaccine mandate. Germany's COVID policies have at times been so draconian, one German woman said her 10-year-old daughter told her she wants to die.
Beck believes if Germany introduces a vaccine mandate, the EU will follow with a European-wide mandate.
Most Europeans are vaccinated. In Sweden, enthusiastic citizens are even injecting their vaccine passports into their hands in the form of readable microchips. But far fewer Europeans have gotten the boosters that future vaccine mandates will require.
The protests against Europe's COVID policies are now as far-flung as Barcelona to Brussels to Kyiv in Ukraine to Zagreb in the Balkans.
Tomislav Popinjac, a Croatian IT expert said, "I came here to fight against fascism, totalitarianism, these insane restrictions, and insane politicians."
Europe's unvaccinated are now protesting for something they used to take for granted: freedom.
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