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Saturday, 5 February, 2000, 19:11 GMT
Anti-Nazi protesters march in London

Anti-Haider protesters confronted riot police in Vienna Anti-Haider protesters confronted police in Vienna


Anti-Nazi demonstrators have marched to Downing Street to hand in a petition calling for sanctions against Austria's new government.

The crowd of about 200 gathered outside the London offices of Austrian Airlines in Wardour Street, Soho, for the Anti-Nazi League protest about the right-wing coalition partners in Austria's newly elected government.

They then shouted anti-Nazi slogans as they proceeded to No 10 where three women handed in the petition of more than 2,000 signatures.

Delegates Marina Szanto, Katherine Klinger and Marianne Fixler had all lost members of their families to the Holocaust.

Haider Joerg Haider: Controversial far-right leader
Spokesman Paul Holborow told the crowd: "All of us here today have to pinch ourselves to come to terms with what is happening in Austria today.

"We have to ask whether the Austrian government has learnt nothing from history whatever. The far right across Europe are rubbing their hands with glee.

"The attitude of the British Government is nothing short of pathetic. It needs to break all relations with the Austrian Government - this government is now a pariah in Europe."

Fundamental rights

A speech made by Glyn Ford MEP in the European Parliament on Saturday was also read to the crowd.

It said: "Mr Haider has demonstrated over the past years, by both words and actions, that he deserves to be excluded from normal democratic discourse.

"Some have said it is not right for us to interfere in Austrian politics - they are wrong. The European Union's treaties make it incumbent on us to do so to protect fundamental rights.

"Some have said that we have to accept the result of democratic elections. But democratic elections do not make democrats of those they elect.

Haider's apology

"There is the tragic monument of the holocaust, the death of six million Jews, as a chastening reminder to those who argued the same with respect to Germany in the 1930s."

The demonstrators dispersed after handing in the petition.

Yesterday 5,000 protesters massed outside the Hofburg Palace in Vienna as the Joerg Haider's right-wing Freedom Party took its place in the new government.

Mr Haider won international notoriety for praising Adolf Hitler's "orderly employment" policy and lauding veteran of the Waffen SS as "decent people of good character" - a comment for which he later apologised.

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See also:
04 Feb 00 |  Europe
US acts over Austrian far-right
04 Feb 00 |  Europe
Haidar: View from the streets
04 Feb 00 |  Europe
Austrian tourism braced for boycott
04 Feb 00 |  Europe
Right-wing leaders puzzled over Haider
04 Feb 00 |  Europe
Haider's men and women
04 Feb 00 |  Europe
Austria's problem with foreigners
03 Feb 00 |  From Our Own Correspondent
Haider and the Auschwitz survivor
05 Feb 00 |  Europe
Cracks develop in Austria coalition
03 Feb 00 |  Europe
Analysis: EU differences in spotlight
03 Feb 00 |  Europe
Analysis: Austria's troubled history
03 Oct 99 |  Europe
Profile: Joerg Haider
03 Feb 00 |  Europe
Analysis: EU's forceful warning on Haider

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