Hofer Names And Shames Online Hate Posters

Anti-mass migration Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer has taken to Twitter to name and shame supporters of his opponent who have threatened him and mocked his disability.

The populist Freedom Party (FPÖ) candidate for the Austrian presidency Norbert Hofer is publishing the full names and photographs of the supporters of his rival Alexander Van der Bellen who have been threatening him on social media.

Mr. Hofer has also criticised the media for only focusing on those who do the same to his opponent, Austria’s Der Standard reports.

FPÖ press spokesman Martin Glier said: “Van der Bellen is indeed excited about hate postings against him,” adding that the move was to show that both sides were affected by hate speech after one of the main daily newspapers in Austria chose only to look at hate posts directed toward Mr. Van der Bellen.

Mr. Glier also hit back against critics who say the party should not name the posters, but rather blur their names and faces, saying: “Many believe that laws don’t apply to the Left…we will teach them otherwise.”

The abusive postings include calling the FPÖ leader a Nazi, and mocking his disability and use of a cane. Mr. Hofer was injured in a hang-gliding accident earlier in his life that left him paralysed. According to Mr. Hofer the doctors initially believed that due to the severe injuries sustained to his spine that he would never be able to walk again.

Hofer’s slogan “power requires control” was, according to one Twitter user as a “quote from Hitler”.

One Twitter user accused Mr. Hofer of being racist and “Hitler’s grandson”, while plastering the tweet with an abundance of Turkish flags.

The subject of Turks in Austria has become a heated debate after the failed coup in Turkey which saw the consolidation of power by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Thousands of Turkish Austrians took to the streets in the immediate aftermath of the failed coup to express their overwhelming support for Erdoğan and his regime. Mr. Hofer questioned the loyalty of the protesters and was joined by foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz who said that those not loyal to Austria should leave.

The presidential election is set to take place on October 2nd and so far polls show a commanding lead for the FPÖ leader. Mr. Hofer announced that he will campaign on security issues and tackle the growing issues of mass migration, integration of asylum seekers, and migrant crime.


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