Austrian court rules for giving vice-chancellor the middle finger
A court has upheld the right of an Antifa group to give the leader Austria's Freedom Party (FPÖ) the middle finger in public, it was confirmed on Thursday.
Published: March 4, 2018, 9:33 am
The activists of Linkswende had filmed a video for the election, in which the current Vice Chancellor Strache had to take a crude verbal as well as a visual insult. Strache, vice-chancellor of Austria, entered government as a junior partner to the centre-right People’s Party (ÖVP) of Sebastian Kurz.
In the video, far-left political activists posed in front of a banner with the imprint of the US singer Johny Cash, accompanied by tons of crude slogans and a yellow sticker saying “Refugees welcome”.
— KURIER (@KURIERat) March 1, 2018
“Because we stand in solidarity with refugees and Muslims we say: F**k Strache,” African Linkswende supporters shout in the video. “Because the anti-women politics of the FPO reminds me of the Mutterkkreuz of the Nazis: F**k Strache.”
In December 14, the Vienna Higher Regional Court had ruled in a first-instance ruling that “such a rejection of a leading politician” could indeed be “expressed in a shocking and provocative manner”.
Not surprisingly, Strache appealed against the verdict, but it was rejected last Wednesday, a court spokesman confirmed to Austrian daily Heute.
Heinz-Christian Strache had accused the far-left group of slander, linking the insults to Austria’s defamation and disparagement laws, which include actions when “the Republic of Austria, or one of its constituent States, is maliciously insulted or degraded in such a way that it is perceived by a broad section of the public,” according to the International Press Institute.
Linkswende spokesman David Albrich hailed the decision as “a victory both for freedom of speech and of the press”.
Strache is the target of another lawsuit from the Austrian public broadcaster ORF. The Freedom Party leader is accused of making “untrue attacks on the ORF,” after he posted Facebook comments calling the ORF “fake news”.
One of his comments read: “There’s a place where lies become news. It’s the ORF.” Strache has since removed the posts saying that it was actually “satire”.
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