Tens of thousands hold pro-refugee rally in Vienna

Tens of thousands hold pro-refugee rally in Vienna
# 04 October 2015 04:49 (UTC +04:00)

According to the event’s organizers, around 60,000 people gathered in the Austrian capital on Saturday.

Police, however, put the figure at much lower at around 20,000.

Members of charitable groups and NGOs chanted "Welcome Refugees!" in front of the railway station from where many of them travel on to neighboring Germany.

“It is a scandal that first we bomb their countries and then we refuse the refugees. This is a big human scandal. I think the media in part is responsible; the Western media. They are lying; They don’t say the United Sates or the European Union or NATO is responsible for this. We have to go back for the origins why those refugees are here,” an activist said.

"It is important to show solidarity and welcome refugees and show that in Austria we have a liberal and welcoming culture," another one said.

Some 2,000 images featuring refugees were also put on display where the peaceful demo was held to "put a face to the figures." "Solidarity concerts" were also held during the rally, which was concluded with a speech by Austrian President Heinz Fischer.

Last month, around 170,000 asylum seekers entered Austria, most of whom continued on to Germany and other countries. Based on reports, the country is expecting 80,000 refugees in the near future and is currently processing 53,000 asylum requests.

Europe is currently grappling with an unprecedented refugee crisis since World War II. The influx has caused diplomatic wrangling and rows among the European countries.

After months of negotiations aimed at reaching an agreement over the fate of the refugees, EU ministers recently adopted a resolution to distribute some 120,000 refugees among member states.

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