More than 2،000 demonstrators took to the streets in Vienna on Monday as Austria’s new coalition government of the conservatives and the far right was inaugurated، as the Times of Israel said.
A heavy police presence of about 1،500 officers، with helicopters overhead and water-cannon trucks at the ready، blocked off the area around the Hofburg palace where the ceremony was held
Several separate marches by left-wing and anti-fascist groups converged at the central Heldenplatz square. Placards included “Refugees welcome” and “Nazis out” and “No Nazi pigs.”
Police fired a smoke grenade when some protesters tried to break through a barricade، an AFP photographer said.
.FPOe chief Heinz-Christian Strache، 48، will be vice-chancellor. He has said that Islam “has no place in Europe” and last year called German Chancellor Angela Merkel “the most dangerous woman in Europe” for her open-door refugee policy.
The two parties have pledged to tighten the country’s asylum and immigration regulations while maintaining a firm commitment to the European Union.
Political opponents have expressed particular concern since the Freedom Party، which has links to far-right extremists، will take control of the important Interior، Defense and Foreign ministries.
The last time the Freedom Party entered government، in 2000 under controversial then-leader Joerg Haider، now dead، Austria was briefly ostracized within the European Union and by Israel.
This time، though، the reaction is likely to be much more muted، with the Freedom Party، which was created by ex-Nazis، seen as having mellowed and with Europe more inured to right-wing parties.
Strache flirted with neo-Nazism in his youth but now، aged 48، besuited and with severe new glasses، portrays himself as a mature statesman rejecting extremism.
He visited Israel in 2010، as a guest of the Likud party، Hadashot news reported، on a trip during which he toured the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and laid a wreath. He visited again in 2016.