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Sunday, 13 February, 2000, 01:10 GMT
Lou Reed cancels Austrian gig

protest Protesters march in Vienna on Saturday


Veteran US rock star Lou Reed has pulled out of a concert in Vienna because he objects to the new Austrian Government, which includes members of the far-right Freedom Party, a radio station reported.

The move came as Argentina recalled its ambassador from Austria, and tens of thousands of people joined protests in Vienna, Innsbruck and Linz against the new government.

lou reed Lou Reed: Opposes Austrian government
Reed, best known for hits including Walk on the Wild Side and Perfect Day, told Austria's ORF radio station that Austrians were free to elect people like Freedom Party leader Joerg Haider.

"But that doesn't mean other people have to go near them," ORF quoted the former Velvet Underground singer as saying.

Mr Haider, who is not a member of the cabinet, has in the past praised aspects of Nazism.

Reed's action is the latest in a series of international moves opposing Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel's coalition government - which was sworn in last week.

Haider's views on Nazism sparked widespread outrage
Austria's 14 European Union partners have tried to isolate the country politically and Israel recalled its ambassador after the coalition took office.

Argentina acted on Saturday following calls by the Argentine Jewish community to limit relations with Austria. It said it opposed racism, Nazism and xenophobia.

In Austria itself, people opposed to the Freedom Party continued their daily protests in Vienna.

Around 2,000 people gathered at Vienna's main railway station before marching down one of the city's busiest shopping streets to parliament.

Local reports said the rally swelled to up to 10,000 people.

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See also:
11 Feb 00 |  Europe
Haider in context: Nazi employment policies
04 Feb 00 |  Europe
Haider: View from the streets
07 Feb 00 |  Europe
Haider calms EU veto fears
09 Feb 00 |  UK
Charles' Austria boycott attacked
08 Feb 00 |  Europe
EU trims meeting amid Austria fears
03 Oct 99 |  Europe
Profile: Joerg Haider

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