Austrian authorities said on Sunday they had thwarted a possible attack on Vienna’s Pride parade by three young men who allegedly sympathized with the extremist group Islamic State.
The head of Austria’s domestic intelligence service told reporters that the suspects, aged 14, 17 and 20, were arrested before the start of Saturday’s Pride parade, which was attended by around 300,000 people, the city reported. ORF public string.
Omar Haijawi-Pirchner of the State Protection and Intelligence Directorate said there was “no danger to the parade participants at any time”.
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer expressed his gratitude to investigators for preventing “a possible Islamist attack in Vienna”.
“This shows once again that we must never back down in the fight against radicals and extremists,” Nehammer tweeted. “They pose a threat to our democracy and our security and must be dealt with severely.”
The mayor of Vienna said he was shocked.
“There must be no place for hatred and exclusion in Vienna. Our city is colorful and cosmopolitan,” said Michael Ludwig, according to Austrian news agency APA.
The intelligence service had been informed in advance of the suspects’ alleged plans, had kept them “under constant control” and had arrested them on the orders of the Saint-Poelten public prosecutor’s office following house searches on Saturday which had uncovered various evidence, including weapons, the ORF reported.
The three suspects, Austrian citizens of Bosnian and Chechen descent whose identities have not been disclosed, had become radicalized online and had sympathized with the Islamic State group, Haijawi-Pirchner said.
One of the suspects was already known to police, he added.
The trio were arrested before the start of the parade by Austrian Cobra special forces.
Pride parade organizers were only informed of the events on Sunday, after the police raid had already taken place, ORF reported.
“We will not let the enemies of LGBTQI rights, democracy and an open society bring us down,” the parade organizing team said, APA reported.
Community rights have recently been “increasingly threatened by the pushback and we have to fight every day for our visibility and safety,” said Ann-Sophie Otte, chair of the Vienna Gay Initiative, according to APA. .
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