In Austria tens of thousands are demonstrating against right wing

In Austria, tens of thousands are demonstrating against right-wing extremists

Austria, in turn, won on Friday through demonstrations that originated in Germany denouncing the “racism” of the extreme right and led to a massive mobilization of tens of thousands of people.

• Also read: The “silent majority” on the streets against the extreme right in Germany

In Vienna, despite the rain, 35,000 demonstrators gathered in the early evening, according to the police, and 80,000, according to the organizers, in front of the parliament on the famous Ringstrasse.

“We are all here together to defend democracy and fight back against the extremist movements that are spreading across Europe,” Elena Tiefenböck, 25, who is studying in the capital, told AFP. And “so that the past does not repeat itself” while the far-right FPÖ party comes out on top in the next parliamentary elections.

For the 53-year-old psychotherapist Barbara Brauböck, this is a “very worrying” prospect because it would “increasingly polarize society.”

“(Herbert) Kickl is a Nazi,” one could read on a sign attacking the movement’s vicious leader, who is a fierce anti-migrant and wants to become “People’s Chancellor,” a phrase used by Adolf Hitler has triggered numerous comments in the Austrian press.

The demonstration, decorated with colorful umbrellas and lanterns, was organized by Fridays for Future, which denounces the far right's resistance to measures against global warming, along with two associations, one defending the black population in Austria and the other defending asylum seekers.

The social democratic SPÖ and environmentalists joined in, as did Caritas and several trade unions.

“Some of us have already packed our bags or are thinking about the country to which we could flee,” complained the social democratic local councilor of Congolese origin Mireille Ngosso, also an activist from “Black Voices Austria,” quoted public television ORF.

Further rallies with a similar motto took place in the cities of Salzburg and Innsbruck.

An extreme right that is used to power

As in Germany, the revelation on January 10 by German investigative media Correctiv of a November meeting in Potsdam where a plan to mass deport foreigners or people of foreign origin was discussed caused shock.

Among the participants were the Austrian identity ideologist Martin Sellner and members of the far-right German AfD.

The AfD confirmed its presence at the meeting, but denied adhering to this “remigration” project, which did not stop more than 1.4 million people from taking to the streets for a week to denounce the radical tendencies of this formation, which led to the second political There has been strength in the country.

More than 200 demonstrations are planned nationwide this weekend – mostly in medium-sized cities, including some in the east of the country, where the AfD achieved its best election results.

In contrast to its neighbor, Austria has an extreme right that has been politically established since the 1980s and was first associated with power at the national level within the European Union in 2000: 250,000 people protested on the streets against the success of People's Tribune Jörg Haider .

The FPÖ governed again between 2017 and 2019, still in coalition with the conservatives, thanks to the good results of another of its leaders, Heinz-Christian Strache.

Parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place in Austria in the coming months, but a date for the vote has not yet been announced.