Austrian chancellor says Bleiburg gathering can't be banned

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz says that neither he, nor the president of the Carinthia province, are able to ban the commemoration in Bleiburg.

Source: Tanjug
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(Getty Images, file)
(Getty Images, file)

"First of all, it should be clearly stated that the gathering that is held is a church manifestation. It is not up to the government, the president of the province nor the provincial government to decide whether this gathering will be held," Kurz told reporters.

Asked whether he would accept the request of the Carinthia's authorities to extend the law banning glorification of Nazism to Ustasha symbols, Kurz did not want to answer.

The Ustasha regime was in power in the Nazi-allied, Second World War-era Independent State of Croatia (NDH), that operated death camps for Serbs, Jews, and Roma.

The Austrian chancellor, however, said that violations of the current law must be punished consistently.

The Austrian Ministry of Interior has announced that it will undertake legal review concerning the symbols and markings (displayed at Bleiburg).

In Austria in recent days, representatives of several parties and organizations criticized the commemoration in this place, assessing that it was the largest gathering of Nazis and fascists in Europe.

They also asked the government to ban the gathering, that is held on private property.

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