Austrian Vice-Chancellor and leader of the populist Freedom Party Heinz-Christian Strache shared a video condemning the prosecution of Generation Identity in Austria, calling it “thought-provoking”.
Vice-Chancellor Strache, known for his fierce anti-Islamisation and anti-mass migration rhetoric, shared a video on his personal Facebook page from the former leader of the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) Gerald Grosz, who slammed the recent charges levelled against the identitarian group, Kurier reports.
In the video, the former BZÖ leader addressed current conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) Justice Minister Josef Moser accusing the minister of “prosecuting the Identitarian Movement of Austria by your proxy prosecutor”.
Seventeen members of Generation Identity were charged with forming a criminal organisation by the Graz public prosecutor’s office earlier this week following a series of raids on offices and the private homes of many activists, including co-leader Martin Sellner, also ordered by the prosecutor’s office but believed to be connected to a separate investigation.
“Do you actually want political activism and political expression in the future to be judged under the Mafia law?” Grosz asked, speculating which activist group would be next and listing several prominent groups including Greenpeace.
Grosz suggested that Moser may claim that he is not behind the prosecution but rather his Secretary-General bears responsibility for it. If that were the case, Grosz said, “perhaps it would be better to appoint your Secretary-General as Minister” and called on the Justice Minister to retire.
While Strache refused to comment to the Austrian media on the sharing of the video, he responded to one user on Facebook saying the video was “thought-provoking”.
17 Austrian Identitarians to Be Prosecuted Under ‘Mafia Law’ Accused of Being Criminal Organisation https://t.co/G3cXLE2Ut6
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 15, 2018
The prosecution against identitarians in Austria comes only months after co-leader Martin Sellner was twice detained and refused entry when he attempted to enter the United Kingdom.
In the first case, Sellner, along with his partner, author and political commentator Britanny Pettibone, planned to give a speech at London’s Speakers’ Corner at Hyde Park on the topic of free speech. Both Sellner and Pettibone were held for several days.
After his deportation back to Austria, Sellner handed a reworked version of his speech to former English Defence League leader turned counter-extremism campaigners and citizen journalist Tommy Robinson, who read it to a crowd of thousands.
The second detention and deportation came when Sellner attempted to attend a private identitarian conference.
The conference went ahead but saw far-left extremist violence after far-left activist group HOPE not Hate, which has been funded by left-wing billionaire George Soros, published the private location of the event on Twitter.
One far-left activist was arrested by police following the violence.