The group of about a dozen protesters from the far-right group Identitäre Bewegung Österreich stormed the university lecture hall in Klagenfurt around 17.30 when the lecture was taking place and unfurled a banner that read ‘Integration is a lie’.
One of the men wearing a burka proceeded to carry out a ‘stoning’ using styrofoam blocks on another protester wearing traditional Austrian clothes who had his head and hands trapped in stocks. According the group’s online statement, the man was supposed to represent an “Austrian patriot”.
The vice-chancellor of the university Oliver Vitouch, who was attending the event, received a punch in the stomach after trying to seize hold of one of the men to identify them. He later described the actions from the far-right extremists as an “incitement campaign”.
After the police were called, the group left the hall. An investigation into the incident has now been launched by the state office for the protection of the constitution.
It is the latest in a run of incidents involving the Identitarian group, who have targeted events and buildings in protest against what they see as the ‘Islamisication’ of Europe.
Earlier this year the group stormed a performance of a play by refugees in Vienna and threw fake blood at the crowd before getting into a fight with the audience.
When the play was put on again this week at the Rathaus in Vienna it received police protection.
The same group have also scaled the Green party headquarters in Graz and the Burgtheater in Vienna in similar protests.
A far-right demonstration is planned to take place at 14.00 in Vienna this Saturday, where police are expecting between 500 and 1000 people to take part.
Several counter-demonstrations will also take place throughout the day, started at 11.00 at U3 station Johnstraße. A second will begin at the same time Vogelweidpark and a third will take place at 13.00 at Kardinal Rauscher-Platz.
Lifeguard vehicle targeted by anti-refugee protest
In a separate incident this week, an unknown culprit smashed the window of a water rescue vehicle in Carinthia because they were angry the volunteer lifeguards were giving refugee children swimming lessons.
It followed reports in local media that the water rescue service were giving free swimming lessons to young unaccompanied refugees who live directly next to lakes in the region but who are unable to swim.
“During wintertime, we prepared them with courses about water and the dangers at swimming pools,” explained head of the regional lifeguard group Heinz Kernjak to the Kurier.
Kernjak said they then received “unqualified and abusive” comments online from people hostile to the idea of asylum seekers receiving free swimming lessons.
The day after the story was published, a vehicle belonging to the water service had a window smashed in. Kernjak says the negative reaction will not stop them providing lessons to refugees and they will continue with the courses in summer.