Europe

Austria far right: Thousands rally against Vienna ball

Protesters hold a banner reading "Together against racism, sexism and social cuts" during a demonstration against Vienna's Academics Ball. Photo: 26 January 2018 Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Protesters held banners reading "Together against racism, sexism and social cuts"

At least 8,000 people have protested in Austria's capital Vienna against a ball held by the far-right Freedom Party, police say.

The so-called Academics Ball at the Hofburg Palace is being attended by the head of the party, Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache.

The Freedom Party has secured the key posts in Austria's coalition government after last year's elections.

It is the only Western European nation to have a far-right party in power.

The Freedom Party's senior coalition partner is the conservative People's Party led by Sebastian Kurz - the world's youngest head of government.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Demonstrators called for resistance, chanting "Do not let Nazis win"
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Some in the crowd lit smoke grenades
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Ball guests walked to the venue under police guard. The annual event for student fraternities often attracts far-right figures
Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Vice-Chancellor and Freedom Party head Heinz-Christian Strache (centre) arrived for the event with his wife Philippa
Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption There was a heavy police presence on the streets amid fears of violence

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