Police release 20 Chechens after mass arrests in Vienna

Police patrolling the Donauinsel. Photo: ORF
Austrian police have released 20 out of 22 men of Chechen origin who were arrested with weapons on them on Friday evening in Vienna, according to the Austria Press Agency.

A case was opened against the 22 men on suspicion of involvement in a criminal gang. Twenty men were released on condition they do not leave the city. Two are still in custody.

On Friday, police detained 22 men of Chechen origin at Donauinselplatz in the district of Floridsdorf, after locals noticed they were acting suspiciously and called the police.

Police seized a handgun, a knife, and a submachine gun with a full magazine. One more handgun was found on Saturday after police searched ten apartments.

The Vienna police said the men were detained on suspicion of involvement in criminal activities and were probably from rival gangs, but that they did not pose a terrorist threat.

Sixteen out of the 22 detained men have been granted asylum by Austria, four are asylum seekers, and two of the men had had their asylum claims rejected.