Neo-Nazi crimes on the rise in Austria
The Local · 28 Sep 2016, 09:46
Published: 28 Sep 2016 09:46 GMT+02:00
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The most common offences are glorifying Adolf Hitler in Facebook postings and spraying Nazi graffiti on walls.
From January to August 2016, there were around 118 charges under Paragraph 3 of Austria’s Prohibition Act - which aims to suppress any potential revival of Nazism. In comparison, a total of 119 charges were made in 2014, and 151 in 2015, according to figures from the Ministry of Justice.
81 charges were made so far this year in Upper Austria and in Tyrol. The state capital of Tyrol, Innsbruck, had the highest number of charges per capita. Here, Neo-Nazi crimes have doubled from 2014 to 2015 and there were already 60 charges in the first eight months of 2016.
The most common charges under the Prohibition Act include disseminating Nazi propaganda or publicly denying the crimes of the Third Reich.
Meanwhile, attacks on centres for asylum seekers in Austria are on course to double this year, according to government figures. Twenty-four were recorded in the first half of 2016, compared with 25 for the whole of 2015, Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said in reply to a parliamentary enquiry.
The incidents ranged from arson to acid attacks to stones thrown through windows, or racist or Nazi graffiti and hate postings on the Internet. Opposition Green MP Albert Steinhauser has blamed the rise on the "heated political debate about asylum seekers."
"If in politics there is an atmosphere of intolerance... then it's no wonder that some people see such attacks as legitimate," Steinhauser said.
Austria saw a record 90,000 people apply for asylum last year, one of the highest levels per capita in Europe. The far-right Freedom Party, in common with similar parties across Europe, has stoked concerns about the influx to boost its support.