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Austrians demonstrate against far-Right coalition

AFP  |  Vienna 

Some 20,000 people rallied today in against Austria's new conservative-far right coalition, over its hardline stances on immigration and social policy, police said.

Marchers descended on a central district housing several ministries to make known the views of a protesters' "New Year welcome committee" for the administration of Sebastian Kurz, who became the world's youngest at 31 last month

Organisers said as many as 50,000 people answered their call to protest at the inclusion in the of the anti-immigrant Freedom Party (FPOe), which holds six cabinet portfolios, including that of the vice-chancellor, party Heinz-


"What I fear the most is that this type of becomes the norm," said one demonstrator, 55-year-old Christa, while Tobias Grettica, a 47-year-old German, said he was worried "to see nationalism making inroads everywhere, not just in "

People of all ages, including families, answered the call of leftist and anti-racist groups to turn out.

On a visit to yesterday Kurz, whose country has the only in Western to feature the far right, appealed for understanding and insisted his team was "pro-European".

But today's marchers brandished slogans drawing parallels with the 1938 annexation of by Nazi Germany, one reading "those who tolerate Kurz and Strache would have applauded 1938."

The coalition is the second time has seen the FPOe, formed by former Nazis in the 1950s, enter the government fold after a first spell in 2000-2005. That first occasion brought widespread international opprobrium and a swathe of demonstrations at home.

FPOe sparked an outcry Thursday by saying the government wants to "concentrate" asylum-seekers, employing a word widely associated with Nazi camps, prompting the opposition to warn against the "language of National Socialism creeping into our way of thinking and feeling."

Strache also caused unease earlier this month by appearing to suggest that asylum-seekers should be kept in empty military barracks and subject to an evening curfew.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, January 14 2018. 00:55 IST
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