Au­stri­an pre­si­den­ti­al ho­pe­ful tigh­tens se­cu­ri­ty af­ter de­ath th­re­at

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

AUSTRIA - A de­ath th­re­at by an ap­pa­rent neo-Na­zi on Twit­ter has promp­ted Austria’s in­de­pen­dent pre­si­den­ti­al can­di­da­te Alexan­der Van der Bel­len to rein­for­ce his per­so­nal se­cu­ri­ty with mem­bers of the po­li­ce spe­ci­al for­ces, a spo­kes­man said yes­ter­day. Van der Bel­len, a for­mer le­a­der of the Gr­eens, nar­row­ly beat Nor­bert Ho­fer of the far-right free­dom Par­ty in a May run-off elec­ti­on, on­ly for the re­sult to be over­tur­ned be­cau­se of wi­despread ir­re­gu­la­ri­ties in the count, though no foul play was un­co­ver­ed. The re-run will be held on Dec. 4. A screenshot of a tweet from Mon­day, which has sin­ce been de­le­ted but was pro­vi­ded to Reu­ters by an of­fi­ci­al from the Gr­eens, said, “I shoot Van der Bel­len so he has ho­les li­ke a golf court and dies”. The Twit­ter ac­count has a pro­fi­le pic­tu­re showing a man with a sha­ved head and a swas­ti­ka tat­too on his chest. The na­me of the ac­count in­clu­des the num­ber 88, a com­mon re­fe­ren­ce among neo-Na­zis to the “Heil Hit­ler” sa­lu­te. “The au­tho­ri­ties are ta­king this very se­rious­ly. The do­mestic in­tel­li­gen­ce ag­en­cy thinks the th­re­at has in­crea­sed,” a spo­kes­man for Van der Bel­len said, ad­ding that his per­so­nal pro­tec­ti­on was rein­for­ced on Wed­nes­day with mem­bers of the po­li­ce’s Co­bra spe­ci­al for­ces unit. A spo­kes­man for the In­te­ri­or Mi­ni­stry de­cli­ned to gi­ve de­tails on Van der Bel­len’s per­so­nal se­cu­ri­ty me­a­su­res. Austria saw a sharp in­crea­se last year in the num­ber of in­ci­dents in­vol­ving xe­n­op­ho­bia, Islamop­ho­bia and an­ti-Se­mi­tism fol­lo­wing the ar­ri­val of lar­ge num­bers of most­ly Mus­lim mi­grants and re­fu­gees. Va­rious Na­zi sym­bols and slo­gans as well as de­ni­al of the Ho­lo­caust are out­la­wed in Austria, which was an­nexed by Na­zi Ger­ma­ny in 1938 but lar­ge­ly wit­hout op­po­si­ti­on, and be­ca­me one of Hit­ler’s clo­se al­lies du­ring World War Two. The Gr­eens of­fi­ci­al, who is from the sou­t­hern pro­vin­ce of Sty­ria, said he had ta­ken the Twit­ter mes­sa­ge to the po­li­ce to ha­ve its au­thor in­ves­ti­ga­ted for is­suing a de­ath th­re­at and for neo-Na­zi ac­ti­vi­ties.


Au­stri­an pre­si­den­ti­al can­di­da­te Alexan­der Van der Bel­len, who is sup­por­ted by the Gr­eens, at­tends a news con­fe­ren­ce.

(Photo: REU­TERS)

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