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The BBC's Helen Sawyer examines reactions
"He's already warned the Europeans"
 real 28k

The BBC's Claire Doole in Vienna
"People are now prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt"
 real 28k

Peter Pulzer, Oxford University
"These parties are vehicles of protest"
 real 28k

Helmut Spudich, Salzburger Nachrichten
"The party has an agenda"
 real 28k

Sunday, 6 February, 2000, 02:28 GMT
Haider protests spread

oslo Anti-Haider demonstrators confront police in Oslo

Fresh protests have been taking place across Austria and the rest of Europe against the inclusion of the far-right Freedom Party in a new coalition government.

About 2,000 people attended a demonstration in Vienna on Saturday and there were also gatherings in other Austrian towns.

The latest protests in Vienna have passed off peacefully
The protests passed off largely peacefully, in contrast to the violent scenes in the capital on Friday when more than 50 people were injured in clashes with police.

Our correspondent says the mood on the streets of Vienna has turned from anger to frustration. She said most of protesters were resigned to the inclusion of Mr Haider's Party, but said they intended to show the world their disapproval.

The calmer demonstrations follow an appeal by the Austrian President, Thomas Klestil. Mr Klestil said it was important for Austrians to stick together "during these difficult times" and not risk and emotional splitting of the population.

Protests against the Freedom Party and its leader, Joerg Haider, have also been taking place in several European capitals, including London and Oslo.

Protesters marched on Downing Street in London to demand sanctions on Austria
However, in Italy, members of the right-wing MSI party protested in support of Mr Haider outside the Austrian embassy in Rome.

They displayed a banner which said: "No to the interference of the 'Europe of the banks', yes to the sovereignty of the Austrian people."

Mr Haider responded defiantly to the diplomatic sanctions imposed on his country by the European Union.

But only a day after the installation of the new government, divisions already appear to be developing between the coalition parties.

This is nothing to get hysterical about
Joerg Haider
Mr Haider, in a statement released to the Austrian Press Agency, appealed to Austrians "not to allow themselves to be disturbed by the anti-Austrian mood in foreign countries".

"This is nothing to get hysterical about," he said.

He suggested the EU would soon get used to seeing Freedom Party ministers working with what he called good policies, mastery of their briefs and proper behaviour.

Haider jog Mr Haider escapes the political turmoil, jogging in the mountains
He added that one of the best things about the EU was the principle of unanimity, because it meant that there need be "no worry" about the current EU line against Austria.

This appeared to be a thinly-veiled threat that his group might use its veto power to block decisions at EU ministerial meetings.

However, Austria's Foreign Minister, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, immediately rejected such a move, saying there were no plans to retaliate against EU sanctions.

She said her first priority was to persuade Austria's EU partners to restore political ties.

Austria ostracised

The other 14 EU states are imposing immediate political sanctions on Austria in an attempt to isolate the new government.

The United States and Israel have both recalled their ambassadors.

Mr Haider - best known abroad for remarks belittling the crimes of the Nazis - will not have a seat in the Austrian cabinet, but is expected to play an influential role behind the scenes.

In an interview on German television, he said it was an affront to the Austrian public that he had been obliged by President Klestil to sign a declaration undertaking to uphold democratic values and take a "self-critical" look at Austria's Nazi past.

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See also:
05 Feb 00 |  Europe
Anti-Nazi protesters march in London
05 Feb 00 |  Europe
Images of Vienna violence
04 Feb 00 |  Europe
Austrian tourism braced for boycott
04 Feb 00 |  Europe
Haidar: View from the streets
04 Feb 00 |  Europe
US acts over Austrian far-right
04 Feb 00 |  Europe
Haider's men and women
04 Feb 00 |  Europe
Right-wing leaders puzzled over Haider
04 Feb 00 |  Europe
Austria's problem with foreigners
03 Feb 00 |  From Our Own Correspondent
Haider and the Auschwitz survivor
03 Feb 00 |  Europe
Analysis: EU differences in spotlight
02 Feb 00 |  Europe
Joerg Haider: Key quotes
03 Oct 99 |  Europe
Profile: Joerg Haider

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