After hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in Germany last week to protest against the far right and racism, large demonstrations have now been held in Austria. Organizers say 80,000 people participated in Vienna, but police put the number at 35,000.
Protests erupted in Germany after the revelation of a meeting in Potsdam, where mass deportations were discussed and attended by, among others, politicians from the far-right Alternative for Germany party.
Also present was Austrian extremist Martin Sellner, leader of the Identitäre Bewegung Österreich, a club for people who believe the white race is superior to other races. He is a supporter of population theory, a conspiracy theory that posits that immigrants are coming to Europe in large numbers to replace the white race. He said he promoted his book on the “Second Migration” at the meeting held in Potsdam.
Protesters in Austria are mainly targeting the FPÖ, a far-right party that is doing well in opinion polls and could become the largest in parliamentary elections in the fall. Party leader Herbert Kickl is known for his fierce stances against immigrants. People who participated in the protests say they are worried about Austria’s future if the Freedom Party of Austria comes to power.
In Innsbruck and Salzburg, 3,000 and 1,400 people demonstrated respectively against the far right on Friday. New demonstrations were also held in Germany on Friday, including in Frankfurt, Saarbrücken and Herne.
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