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Votivkirche briefly occupied

Opponents of the refugees briefly occupied Votivkirche on Sunday. Caritas said the occupation was a "conscious provocation" at the expense of the asylum seekers.

According to the police it is not known, what made the nine men leave. Nobody knows about discussions between the Caritas and the opponents. The police escorted them away from the church shortly after 17.00 in order to avoid conflict with the supporters of the asylum seekers in front of the church. Nobody was injured, nor were any complaints made.

Klaus Schwertner, a member of Caritas reported that "at around 12.30 nine men, probably Austrians between 20 and 30-years-old, occupied the church". The men claimed that they were occupying the church, contrary to the refugees, whom the Cardinal allowed to stay.

The group calls itself "W.I.R., Wiens Identitäre Richtung" and is apparently a group of Viennese who advocate "the maintenance of our identity". The men stayed in the church after mass and declared it to be occupied.

"The group is probably oriented to the right, but we do not know anything in specific", said Mr Schwertner.

Caritas has had unpleasant experience with the group when they interrupted a dance event in Floridsdorf, Vienna.

The nine men sat down on the right side, opposite to the 40 to 50 refugees. In the middle there were members of the Caritas and employees of a guard, who have been in the church since 29 December.

Mr Schwertner said the Caritas condemns this "conscious provocation" because it was at the expense of people in need.

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