Outrage after politician calls refugees ‘cavemen’

Outrage after politician calls refugees 'cavemen'
The entrance to Traiskirchen refugee camp. Photo: APA/ERNST WEISS
A right-wing Freedom Party politician in Lower Austria has caused a stink by referring to asylum seekers as “cavemen” on social media.

Christian Höbart posted the inflammatory comment in the Facebook group Traiskirchen, under a photo of a group of asylum seekers demonstrating at a railway station near to Austria’s overcrowded main refugee camp on Thursday evening.

One Facebook user posted a comment asking what the group was demonstrating about and Höbart responded by saying “there is no reason for this. Compared to where these people come from they have it great here. It’s scandalous that these cavemen don’t realise that here they have the best food, new clothes, and other nonsense. What insolence!”

He was unavailable for comment when the Austrian Press Agency attempted to contact him.

The photo got 195 comments, some supporting Höbart's outburst and others strongly against it.

In July Höbart posted a similarly rude comment on his own Facebook page, complaining about the influx of “culturally different and uneducated cavemen and goatherds”.

Niki Scherak, the human rights spokesman for the liberal Neos party, said that Höbart had “crossed the line with his statements” and said that it was time that he resign. He said that statements such as Hobart’s were “inhumane and did not contribute anything to the discussion”.

Police were called to Traiskirchen station on Thursday evening after a group of refugees held a spontaneous demonstration, Mayor Andreas Babler (SPÖ) said.

He called on Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner (ÖVP) to open new quarters for refugees and put a stop to the hopeless overcrowding.

He said that even temporary quarters in a gym would be better than the "indefensible and explosive conditions of Traiskirchen’s overcrowded dormitories".

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