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Far right criminal activity on the rise in Austria

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Far right criminal activity on the rise in Austria
Identitäre Bewegung Österreich
13:07 CEST+02:00
Austria has seen a 54 percent increase in the number of criminal incidents involving far-right extremism since 2014, according to figures issued by the Interior Ministry.

Responding to a parliamentary enquiry, the Ministry released figures showing that there had been 1,156 such cases in 2015, 323 of which had a racist or xenophobic background.

That is nearly three times as many in 2014, when there were 111 incidents with a racist or xenophobic background.

These data show "the criminal tip of our society‘s shift to the right that was triggered by the debate about refugees," the Green‘s justice spokesman Albert Steinhauser told the Austrian Press Agency.

The refugee crisis has been a divisive topic in Austria, where large numbers of volunteers and citizens have been welcoming refugees arriving in the country. Meanwhile the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) have seen an increase in voter support for their anti-migrant mandate.

FPÖ supporters take to the streets

The latest FPÖ-organised march took place last night in the district of Floridsdorf in Vienna to protest against a refugee home in the area. Around 450 protesters on the side of the FPOe were met by roughly 500 counter-demonstrators, according to the ORF.

Three Freedom Party supporters were arrested in the event for assaulting police officers.

The march follows a similar one in the district of Liesing in March, when hundreds of people led by FPÖ politicians took to the streets to protest against a refugee home there.

Far-right extremists from the Identitarian movement also stormed a theatre stage last week where asylum seekers from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan were performing an award-winning play about failed asylum seekers being deported from Austria.

Members of the same group also scaled the Green party's headquarters in Graz a week earlier as part of an anti-Muslim protest.

However an attempt by the anti-Muslim right-wing extremist group PEGIDA to hold a rally in Vienna over the weekend had to be called off after failing to attract as many supporters as previous rallies, with only 20 people showing up.

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