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Austria: 20 000 demonstrate in support of receiving refugees

1.9.2015 19:26
The flag of Austria.
The flag of Austria.

The Austrian Press Agency reports that at least 20 000 people, according to Austrian Police estimates, gathered for a demonstration against the inhumane treatment of refugees yesterday in the center of Vienna. Approximately 450 police officers patrolled the marchers and the event took place without incident.

The parade of demonstrators began at Vienna's Westbahnhof train station, where hundreds of migrants arrived yesterday by train from Budapest, and marched to the city center. It ended with speeches in front of Parliament on the Ringstrasse, which police closed.  

The demonstrators dispersed calmly at around 21:30. Many people responded to the organizers' calls to wear white to symbolize world peace.  

Those participating carried posters demanding, among other things, the opening of legal travel routes for refugees. Just before the demonstration began, a public service was held at St Stephen's Cathedral in the city center in memory of the 71 refugees who probably suffocated to death before Austrian Police found them last Thursday in a refrigerator truck parked on the side of the highway not far from the border with Hungary.  

"Enough! There has been enough dying, enough hardship, enough persecution. We can no longer avert our gaze," Cardinal Christoph Schönborn told a cathedral full of visitors, including almost all members of the Austrian Government, including Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann.  

Czech citizen charged with smuggling human beings

News server reported today that the Czech Embassy in Vienna says Austrian authorities have charged a Czech citizen with smuggling human beings. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.  

Lucie Steinichová of the consular division of the Czech Embassy says the youth is between 20 and 25 years of age and was arrested by Austrian Police at the end of July. He has already been charged and currently is in custody in the Lower Austrian metropolis of Sankt Pölten.  

The man's attorney says he has confessed to the crime. According to the Czech Embassy he will remain in custody, but it is not yet clear whether he was part of an organized group or acted alone. 

bau, ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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