Austrian police have foiled a potential terror attack at Vienna Pride after arresting three suspects with alleged links to Islamic extremism.
Omar Haijawi-Pirchner, from Austria’s State Protection and Intelligence Directorate (DSN), told journalists on Sunday (18 June) that three suspects were arrested on suspicion of plotting a terror attack at the event, according to CNN.
The suspects, aged 14, 17 and 20, are Austrian nationals of Bosnian and Chechen origin and were arrested by Austria’s Cobra special forces ahead of the parade on Saturday.
Vienna Pride, which ran from 1 June to 18, was attended by about 300,000 people this year.
Haijawi-Pirchner said the trio had become radicalised online, developing views in line with ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). He did not give details about the planned attack.
The domestic intelligence chief added that police carried out searches on properties in Vienna and lower Austria where they seized illegal weapons.
“In our democratic society, hate and terror have no place,” he said.
State police president Gerhard Pürstl told journalists: “For the LGBTQ community, many Islamic, as well as right-wing, extremists represent an intense enemy, which is clear from the violent crimes that have been committed during events in the past across the world.”
Austria’s Interior Ministry confirmed investigations by the DSN had revealed a number of people were planning an attack.
“The suspects were subsequently tracked down and taken into custody in a co-ordinated attack,” the security agency said, adding that those attending Pride were in no danger.
Austrian chancellor Karl Nehammer tweeted his thanks to investigators for preventing “a possible Islamist attack in Vienna”.
He added: “We must never give in in the fight against radicals and extremists. They are a threat to our democracy and security and must be dealt with severely.”
Vienna’s mayor Michael Ludwig told Austria’s APA news agency that there “was no place for hate and exclusion in Vienna. Our city is colourful and cosmopolitan”.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Austria in 2019, with registered partnerships permitted since 2010.
Since then, Catholic bishops in the country have called for “official blessings” of same-sex couples to be allowed within the Church.