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End of World War II commemorated in Vienna

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Vigil of the Armed Forces at Vienna's Heldenplatz. Photo: APA
11:58 CEST+02:00
Ceremonies are taking place in Vienna to commemorate the end of World War II, 69 years ago.
A state ceremony with Austria's Chancellor Werner Faymann and Vice-Chancellor, Finance Minister Michael Spindelegger, will take place in the chancellery on Thursday. 
 
In the evening a 'Festival of Joy' (Fest der Freude) will take place on Heldenplatz in central Vienna. The Austrian army is holding a vigil on Heldenplatz throughout the day.
 
Guests at the festival will include the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra, who will play a free concert.
 
Chancellor Faymann and speaker of parliament Barbara Prammer will give speeches to mark the capitulation of the German armed forces on May 8 1945.
 
A new memorial will be unveiled on the new campus of the University of Economics.
 
"We're demanding that in the future May 8th should be an official bank holiday," said Florian Kraushofer, president of the student union. 
 
Earlier on Thursday the deserters of the Nazi German armed forces were honoured on Ballhausplatz.
 
During the afternoon a demonstration will be held against present-day right-wing tendencies, starting at Vienna's Schottentor. 
 
A right-wing group with roots in France, which has been active in Germany and Austria for the last two years, is planning a march in Vienna on May 17th, according to Der Standard newspaper. 
 
Their statements on Facebook tend to be racist, nationalist and anti-Islam. There have been calls for counter-demonstrations. 
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