Protesters hold pro-refugee rally in Austria

November 27, 2016 6:00 pm
Citizens and asylum seekers in have staged a protest rally in the capital, Vienna, one week ahead of the Austrian presidential election to condemn tough refugee policies.
The protesters on Saturday also called for an immediate end to deportations of asylum seekers, including from one European Union country to another, or resettlements outside of .
They demanded that European governments take in the refugees who are fleeing from war and persecution in neighboring Asia and Africa, saying the people seeking asylum have an internationally-recognized legal right to make an asylum request and a right to stay.
“The government should stop all deportation and transfers to other EU countries. The people, who are supposed to stay here, who have applied for asylum here, should be permitted to stay here. Because these people have a right to request asylum here, and also to receive asylum here,” said Simon Neuhold, a protester at the rally.
Anti-refugee protesters staged a separate but simultaneous rally demanding a tougher stance against asylum seekers. The protesters fired smoke flares while marching.
They demanded tougher measures by the Austrian government, and by authorities in neighboring Croatia and Slovenia, to stop refugees from entering Austria.

A poster of presidential candidate Alexander Van den Bellen, an independent candidate and the former chief of the Green Party, can be seen in Vienna, Austria on November 26, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The protests come one week before the Austrian presidential election, in which the candidates’ refugee policies have been a key issue during the campaigns.
Independent Alexander Van der Bellen is more open to allowing the refugees into the country, while right-wing candidate Norbert Hofer has declared that Austria is no place to offer “social services” to the world.
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