The Austrian government has halted the construction of an “anti-terror” wall around the chancellor’s building after a backlash from the public when it was discovered the project had cost 1.5 million euros.
The office of Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern announced Thursday that the project to build the wall would be cancelled effective immediately after a prolonged outcry. Many, like the leader of the anti-mass migration Freedom Party (FPÖ) Heinz-Christian Strache, accused the government of only “protecting themselves”, Die Presse reports.
According to the Ministry of the Interior, the plan for the wall had been drafted as early as 2014 but has become an issue due to the campaigning for the early national election which is scheduled to take place on October 15th.
Newspaper Kronen Zeitung noted that the 220-foot long wall would cost Austrian taxpayers 1.5 million euros and questioned why it was needed when the terror threat in Austria is regarded as “low”.
FPÖ leader Strache called the project hypocritical saying: “While Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán built a border fence to protect his people, the Austrian federal government has been toiling away building a wall only for themselves.”
Regarding a potential terror threat to Austria, Strache said the government must tackle “the root of the problem and not just the symptoms”.
Earlier this year, Strache said he would seek to ban radical Islamism describing it as “antagonistic to women, anti-liberal and corresponds to a fascist worldview”.
When it comes to Islamist terrorists and their sympathisers, Strache proposed to send them to “prison islands” instead of allowing them to roam free in Austria.
“If they are banished to a lonely and well-guarded island, the problem is solved for the most part, instead of waiting until they strike and massacre people,” he said.
Recent polls show the FPÖ in second place behind the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) led by young popular Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz.