Austrian far-right party attacks Moroccans to blackmail voters
VIENNA - Austrian prosecutors said Friday they are investigating the far-right Freedom Party for alleged incitement of racial hatred after complaints about campaign posters for local elections next month.
The FPOe party's posters for the election in the western city of Innsbruck carry the slogan "Heimat-Liebe statt Marokkaner-Diebe", meaning "Patriotism not thieving Moroccans".
The Moroccan embassy in Vienna issued an angry statement attacking what it called the FPOe's "defamatory and discriminatory behaviour" and accusing it of "humiliating, stigmatising and discriminating against" the Moroccan community.
"The embassy condemns in the strongest possible terms this hurtful practice aimed only at winning votes at the cost of respect for fundamental human rights," the Austria Press Agency (APA) quoted the statement as saying.
And in Rabat junior foreign minister Youssef Amrani protested in a meeting with the Austrian ambassador against what he called "a xenophobic act", the ministry said in a statement.
The FPOe, led by the charismatic Heinz-Christian Strache, is neck-and-neck in national opinion polls with Chancellor Werner Faymann's Social Democrats, with Faymann's federal coalition partners, the People's Party, in third place.
The FPOe is hoping to win seats in Innsbruck city council, where it is currently not represented, in local elections on April 15. The next national vote is not due until 2013.
In January Strache provoked outrage after he allegedly said that the "persecution" of members of the far-right attending a controversial Viennese ball made them "the new Jews".