• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Massive rally shows support for refugees

The Local/AFP · 3 Oct 2015, 20:52

Published: 03 Oct 2015 20:52 GMT+02:00

Austria has been a key transit point for many refugees reaching eastern Europe, and organisers said their bid to show public solidarity drew some 60,000 into the capital's streets.

Police put the total nearer 20,000 as a good-natured throng converged in front of the railway station from where many of the refugees have continued their odyssey through to neighbouring Germany.

Charitable groups and NGOs called the rally with the slogan "Welcome Refugees!"

"All refugees are welcome, whether their flight be due to war, persecution or other causes," a spokesman said as the marchers wound their way down the central Mariahilferstrasse thoroughfare before coming to a halt outside parliament.

"It is important to show solidarity and welcome refugees and show that in Austria we have a liberal and welcoming culture," one marcher who gave his name as Georg told AFP.

CHECK OUT THE GALLERY FROM SATURDAY

Mariahilferstrasse was decked out with some 2,000 portraits of migrants in order to "put a face to the figures" of the thousands who have streamed in over recent months after transiting through neighbouring states.

Despite Saturday's show of support the influx has caused some concern in Austria, whose far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) has drawn nearly level with the ruling Social Democrats in Vienna ahead of October 11 elections in the capital city state, according to a recent poll.

Saturday evening was to see further festivities in the form of "solidarity concerts", capped with a speech by President Heinz Fischer.

Story continues below…

Thousands of Austrians have mobilised to offer help with logistics as the refugees have flooded in.

Last month, almost 170,000 people entered Austria, most of whom travelled on to Germany and beyond.

But the 8.5 million-strong Alpine country still expects a record 80,000 asylum requests this year and is currently processing 53,000 requests.

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local/AFP (news.austria@thelocal.com)

Today's headlines
Intoxicated man demanded officer's gun at Graz airport
View of Graz airport. Photo: Jacktd/Wikimedia

A blind-drunk Romanian man caused a commotion in the departure hall at Graz airport on Wednesday afternoon, threatening to shoot himself with a police officer’s gun.

700 museums open their doors for Long Night event
The hare with amber eyes. Photo: KHM-Museumsverband/Michael Harvey

Night owls and culture vultures can explore over 700 of Austria’s museums from 6pm to 1am on Saturday, courtesy of the ORF’s Long Night of Museums event.

US rapper acquitted in Austrian sexual abuse trial
Freddie Gibbs. Photo: SwaGibbs/Wikimedia

Update: US rapper Freddie Gibbs has been acquitted of sexually abusing a girl half his age in his hotel room after a concert in Vienna last year.

Driver in Vienna 'shouting Allahu Akbar' tries to run over pedestrians
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Police in Vienna are investigating whether a 21-year-old man who tried to run over pedestrians with his car on Thursday morning had a terrorist motive.

Life sentence for killer driver judged to be sane
Screen grab of the car in Herrengasse. Photo: ORF

A jury in the Austrian city of Graz has found a man guilty of killing three people in the southern city last year by driving his 4x4 at high speed down a crowded pedestrian street.

Rare panda twins getting more active every day
The twins are a boy and a girl. Photo: Schönbrunn Zoo

The unique panda twins that were born two months in Vienna are developing well and growing up fast according to zookeepers.

High altitude ski resorts get less snowfall
St. Anton ski resort. Photo: 24seven/Wikimedia

Spring skiing in Austrian resorts like St. Anton or Ischgl could become a thing of the past if a long-term trend discovered by Swiss researchers continues.

Stuntman's clutch fails after driving at 300 km/h
Felix Baumgartner. Photo: Red Bull Stratos

Skydiver Felix Baumgartner has been criticised after boasting about how the clutch on his Ford GT sports car failed after he drove it for several hours at speeds of up to 300 km/per hour.

Austrian men tend to be 'critical of working mothers'
Attitudes are less conservative than in the 1950s. Photo: German Bundesarchiv

42 percent of under 45-year-olds in Austria are critical of mothers with small children who have a job, and believe “a preschooler suffers if his or her mother works”.

Paid social work 'should help asylum seekers integrate'
Refugees arriving on boats in the Mediterranean. UNHCR/Archilleas Zavallis

Refugee experts from Austria’s nine states are meeting in Graz today, to discuss how to provide asylum seekers with employment and opportunities for integration through community work.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Those surprising Austrians!
National
100 years since the last emperor's death
National
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Lifestyle
Have fun in September!
National
Der you learn Deutsch?
Culture
Delighted by the light
National
Beware these passport scams
National
Of course we skipped Oarsch
National
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
Yodel-ei-ei-eee--oh
Lifestyle
10 years after her escape from captivity
Politics
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
National
Another 10 million Euros for fresh elections
Gallery
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Society
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Gallery
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
National
It's gonna be hot... here's how to cope
National
Europe's ice cream capital
Travel
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
National
How to make friends in Austria
2,479
jobs available