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Friday, 8 February, 2002, 12:12 GMT
Vienna ball passes off 'peacefully'
Hundreds of guests attended his year's event
Hundreds of guests attended his year's event
Two people were arrested and seven others injured outside Vienna's annual Opera Ball on Thursday evening.

Some 1,100 police were drafted in to create a security cordon around the Opera House, after recent events were targeted by far-left protesters.

However police said there was no repetition of the violence which has marred the event in recent years.

The two protestors arrested were released later on and none of the injured, which included six policemen, needed hospital treatment.

Vienna protest
In 2001 there were 42 arrests
Police spokesman Manfred Rheinthaler said: "It was much more peaceful than it has been in previous years."

He put the turnout of protestors at less than 1,000, compared to the 2,000 who had been expected.

Austria's political and elite were among the 4,000 prosperous guests expected at the ball, for which tickets cost between 210 euros (130) and 16,000 euros (9,850).

VIP guests included Italian film star Claudia Cardinale and the presidents of Finland and Slovakia.

Violent protests

The event has acquired a reputation for attracting demonstrations and there were violent protests in 1998 and 1999.

In 2000, when the far-right Freedom Party took power, about 15,000 protesters demonstrated outside the ball.

Last year 600 protesters gathered, some throwing paint at the guests and damaging a number of vehicles.

Forty-two people were arrested and 17 policemen injured.

This year police, many with riot shields, manned roadblocks on several streets around the Opera House.

See also:

23 Feb 01 | Europe
Vienna ball draws protesters
03 Mar 00 | Europe
In pictures: Vienna's ball
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