Opposition Says Haider Immigration Tirade is Blast From Nazi Past
Austrian opposition parties on Saturday condemned far-right leader Joerg Haider's latest attack on immigrants, declaring that the deaths of millions of people this century "had begun with such calls".
Haider, addressing a party meeting in Vienna late Friday, singled out illegal immigrants as a key problem in the city that had to be addressed, noting that Austria must be able to choose its immigrants.
"Such calls" had been heard once before in Austria, said Green's parliamentary leader Madeleine Petrovic in a statement Saturday.
"They led to the murder of millions of people," she warned. Austria was annexed into Hitler's Third Reich in 1938.
Social Democrat head Alfred Gusenbauer, whose party currently fields the Vienna mayor, said Haider's performance indicated the Freedom Party local election campaign in 2001 would be "full of hostility to foreigners".
And he urged conservative Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel, who formed a government with the Freedom Party in February, to respond.
"For the sake of Austria's appearance Schuessel should abandon his fearing reserve in the face of the Freedom Party and make a clear statement against this form of politics which aims to incite," he said in a statement.
The head of the Vienna branch of the Freedom Party, Hilmar Kabas, joined in with Haider's attack Friday, stressing, "we have no need of an artificially created multicultural society."
Kabas, who appropriated the Nazi invented terminology "Ueberfremdung" -- too many foreigners -- during Vienna's last elections, was consequently refused a place in the government cabinet by Austrian president Thomas Klestil in February.
The Vienna far-right leader brushed off Gusenbauer's criticism Saturday, charging one now knew why the Social Democrat "had once kissed the ground in Moscow as if it were the soil of his homeland" -- VIENNA (AFP)
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