Vienna rally draws thousands over EU migration policies

By Askin Kiyagan

VIENNA (AA) – More than 5,000 people took to the streets of Austria’s capital Thursday to protest against the European Union’s policies against refugees and migration.

Protesters gathered in Praterstern, a major square in Vienna’s Leopoldstadt district, holding banners with slogans in German, including "Build bridges, not a wall," "Do not let Nazis rule" and "Protect human life”.

In his speech during the demonstration, Markus Bachmann, a member of Doctors Without Borders, said the highest number of migrants had died in the past 10 years last June and July because countries prevented relief agencies from helping them, referring to migrants stranded in the Mediterranean Sea.

He said rescued migrants, especially in the Mediterranean, should not be sent to Libya, where war and violence continue.

Local police took extensive security measures at the demonstration. The protesters later marched to the Austria Center Vienna, where EU ministers were attending a two-day conference titled “Security and Migration – Promoting Partnership and Resilience” and ended their demonstration there.