A mass brawl between asylum seekers and LASK Linz FC football supporters saw several people injured in the old city of Linz over the weekend.
Up to 40 asylum seekers and LASK Linz FC supporters were involved in a massive brawl in one of the oldest districts during the early hours of Saturday morning following a LASK match that took place earlier Friday afternoon. Police say that the supporters clashed with the asylum seekers near a restaurant on the Badgasse in downtown Linz leaving several injured from both sides, reports Austrian broadcaster ORF.
Police received a call at around 4:00 am from a witness to the brawl and were able to arrive on the scene shortly afterward. Authorities claim that the brawl, which took place in an area heavily frequented by migrants, was the culmination of an argument that had escalated to the point of violence and was sparked by the football supports not being allowed into a local club by the doorman.
When police arrived on the scene they saw over 40 men going at each other with fists and knives. The LASK supporters, half of them shirtless and intoxicated on one side of the brawl and asylum seekers, mainly from Afghanistan, were on the other.
Linz city police commander Karl Pogutter said that initially the two policeman who first got to the area tried to break up the two groups but were unsuccessful due to the amount of men involved. “It was very difficult, and also very dangerous for the officials,” Pogutter told Austrian media.
In order to de-escalate the situation a further 20 officers were required and made use of pepper spray and tear gas to break up the two groups. Commander Pogutter said that at least two asylum seekers were injured and two LASK supporters though did not say that any were in critical condition.
The brawl comes directly after a large scale brawl between migrants and locals in Bautzen, Germany in which drunken asylum seekers picked fights with locals and sparked outrage in the local community. The brawl in Bautzen involved over 100 participants and took over 100 police to stop and has led to several protests by right-wing groups against the asylum seekers who police admitted started the confrontation.
Mass brawls elsewhere in Austria have been limited to asylum seekers fighting with other asylum seekers, particularly in the capital of Vienna. Last month 50 Afghan migrants attacked each other and then attacked police in the Prater park in Vienna which has become a hot spot for migrants and migrant crime.
As the Vienna version of Oktoberfest, or Wiesn-fest, begins Thursday at the Prater park, some are concerned that the combination of huge amounts of alcohol and migrant gangs may lead to further confrontations.