Terror researcher: Corona radicalisation continues in Austria
In Austria, the radical scene of opponents of the Corona measures is “even going one point further” than in Germany. There are “an incredible number of threats against mayors and officials,” Neumann said. Therefore, there is “a well-founded fear that there will also be acts of violence.”
It is “definitely right-wing extremists who are steering the movement,” the researcher said with regard to the radical potential. But in the “broad movement,” the protests would also be organized by the FPÖ, and they would also be more pronounced where the FPÖ was strong.
In Germany, he said, the Corona anti-Measures scene is particularly strong in Saxony and Thuringia, where the right-wing AfD has its strongholds. These scenes, he said, are “riddled with right-wing extremists,” with right-wing parties, including FPÖ chairman Herbert Kickl, trying to “take the lead.”
The researcher, Neumann who works at King’s College in London, confirmed a report in the weekly newspaper “Falter” according to which he was in Austria last week for talks with authorities on the subject. However, Neumann would not disclose details of these contacts.
The target of potential attacks could be “everything that has to do with the infrastructure of vaccination.” In addition to possible attacks, there is the danger of “someone going crazy, the effect-loaded violence” that is unleashed at demonstrations, where police officers and journalists are attacked. Neumann also recalled the suspected murder of a 20-year-old gas station cashier in Idar-Oberstein, Germany. The latter had previously pointed out to the perpetrator that masks were mandatory.
Radicalization is exacerbated by the announcement of a general vaccination requirement, the researcher added. “The scene has been working on this notion for a year and a half.” Opponents of the measures now feel vindicated, he said, after politicians had previously ruled out a general vaccination requirement. For the scene, this is “the signal: now comes the totalitarian state.” The “second trigger” for radicalization was the vaccination of children, according to the motto: “Now they want to take away our children, too.” This all has an emotional impact, he said, which can accelerate radicalization.
Neumann advises politicians and civil society, on the one hand, to consistently prosecute threats of violence under criminal law. On the other hand, politicians must deal sensitively with the issue of child vaccination, for example. Of about 30 percent of the population who are unvaccinated, far from all would support violence. “A lot of people are still reachable, and not all of them are crazy and lost.” Those people, he said, need to be kept in conversation.
But policymakers also need to launch a better communications campaign, he said. It is not enough, he said, for the chancellor to call for people to get vaccinated. Influencers must be recruited in this regard and the respective social media channels must be targeted. The scene in the German-speaking world is internationally networked, but at the same time also very strongly anchored locally. This explains why the radical potential is greater in Upper Austria, for example, but not particularly strong in Vienna.
“The actions of Corona deniers is currently the greatest threat to security,” the head of the recently reformed Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Because we have recognized this, however, we can take preventive action. The milieu is very heterogeneous, at the same time there is a lot of potential there. The big risk is that right-wing extremists use the scene to advance their ideology.”
Source: Salzburger Nachrichten