Members of right-wing Austria student fraternities known as Burschenschaften will march in Vienna this evening. Although they say they are politically neutral, the Burschenschaften have ties with the eurosceptic Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ), which took almost 20 per cent of the vote in last month’s elections to the European Parliament and will be allied in the parliament with Marine Le Pen’s Front National and Geert Wilders’ Dutch Freedom Party.
Left-wing counter demonstrations are planned, and police are urging restraint, according to a report in the Local.
Austrian press reports say that 500 members of the academic Burschenschaften of the Wiener Korporationsring have registered with police to march a planned route today starting at 5pm at Josephsplatz.
Burschenschaften were founded in the early 19th century as associations of university students inspired by liberal and patriotic ideas.
They have a long history of promoting a greater Germany based on language, culture, and democracy. The year 1848 is significant as a time of the March revolutions, which popularized notions of national unity, freedom, democracy and free speech in the German states, and which emphasized pan-Germanism, according to the Local.
A previous meeting in Vienna by the Burschenschaften, their annual Akademikerball in January, led to violence from left-wing demonstrators. Police have announced that hundreds of additional policemen will be standing by to control any problems today.