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Plans underway for second refugee protest

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Plans underway for second refugee protest
JAN HETFLEISCH/EPA
13:17 CEST+02:00
Plans are underway for a second demonstration against Austria's border controls to take place at the Brenner pass between Italy and Austria, with organisers saying they expect more protesters to turn up this time.

The first rally that took place at the beginning of April saw around 800 pro-refugee demonstrators march to the Brenner border to protest Austria's increasingly hardline approach to migrants and refugees.

The initially peaceful protest ended violently after around 50 participants clashed with police, leaving five officers injured.

Austria has introduced a run of measures in recent months to stem the number of refugees crossing its borders, including putting up fences and posting soldiers at its border stations.

Brenner has become a recent focal point of the Austrian government's anti-migrant policy, which has seen it introduce a run of measures in recent months to stem the number of refugees crossing its borders.

As well as placing an upper limit of 37,500 asylum applications it is prepared to accept this year, the Interior Ministry have also being raising barriers at its borders, with building work starting this week on a 250-metre-long anti-migrant barrier over the Brenner motorway and main road.

The next demonstration at Brenner, organised by left-wing parties in northern Italy's region of South Tyrol, is due to take place on April 24th.

In preparation, a delegation from the left-wing party Left Ecology Freedom visited the Brenner area on Thursday morning to meet with refugee activists and assess the situation, they announced in a press release on Wednesday.

Austria's threatens to close down border

Meanwhile Austria's defence minister has threatened to completely close the Brenner pass unless Italy stops the flow of refugees to its northern neighbour.

Defense Minister Hans Peter Doskozil said the “extreme” measure would be implemented if Italy fails to stop refugees crossing the border or doesn't accept those who are sent back.

Speaking at a meeting of his SPÖ party in Innsbruck on Wednesday night, Doskozil said the Tyrol area of Austria has become a “refugee waiting room”.

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