The police are looking for 20 to 30 young men who are said to be involved in new riots. The ORF reported online. The police are currently in action with a large contingent. Before that, there had been massive street battles between rioting young people and the police on Tuesday night. During the riots on Halloween night in downtown Linz, 80 percent of the suspects were not Austrians. The majority come from Syria and Afghanistan.
The events of Halloween night
Detonating firecrackers and rocks and bottles that were thrown in the direction of passers-by and police officers: In downtown Linz, around 200 mostly young people rioted massively on Halloween night on Tuesday.
Nine people were arrested and two police officers were injured, according to the balance sheet of the riot. Only about 20 percent of the rioters had an Austrian passport. Syrians and Afghans made up more than half of the group, followed by Iraqis, Iranians, Chechens and Turks. Interior Minister Gerhard Karner (ÖVP) called a security summit in response to the events with the Mayor of Linz Klaus Luger (SPÖ) and announced tough action against those involved with asylum status. He told the “Kronen Zeitung” that asylum denial procedures would be “immediately initiated” against rioters with asylum status. The FPÖ, however, criticized the ÖVP: “This is the visible bill for the failed and sleepy migration policy of Federal Chancellor (Karl, note) Nehammer and Minister of the Interior Karner,” said state party secretary Michael Gruber.
The riots may have been planned. At least there are videos from the Internet platform TikTok that call for precisely these violent excesses. Users called for Linz to be turned into an “Athena 2.0”. This is a reference to a Netflix film about street fights between teenagers and the police.
The first emergency calls went on Halloween night around 9 p.m to the police: A large group of people who met at Taubenmarkt in the pedestrian zone throw firecrackers at passers-by. A large contingent of around 170 police officers, including specialists from the Cobra, then moved out. “Around 200 people ruthlessly lit firecrackers and threw them uncontrollably into the crowds. The situation on site was tense and aggressive towards the police forces,” confirms operations manager Michael Hubmann. However, at the beginning only police officers from Linz were in action. “Because there were too many people in the group, we requested colleagues from the standby unit, the task force, the SRK and the surrounding patrols,” says Hubmann. The situation calmed down for a short time.
But at about 9:30 p.m the mood began to change, the police forces were harassed and firecrackers were thrown at them.
around 9.45 p.m., after the arrival of other forces, the evacuation of the pigeon market began. The rioters showed no understanding, the police had to use more offensive tactics to get the situation under control. After the evacuation, the violent criminals regrouped in front of the police forces and threw firecrackers, stones and glass bottles at them. Shortly after 11 p.m., the overhead lines of the tram were switched off by the Linz Linien. These were so damaged by firecrackers that they threatened to fall to the ground. That could have meant imminent danger to life.
At 11:10 p.m the announcement was made over loudspeakers that everyone had to leave the area up to the main road immediately. In order to bring the situation under control, around 200 rioters around 12:30 a.m encircled.
A total of 130 identity checks were carried out, and nine people were arrested for aggressive behavior and disorder. Two police officers were slightly injured. All 130 people – including nine arrested – are reported on suspicion of serious communal violence and disorder.
Only from 2 O ‘clock the operation of the tram was resumed. At 3 o’clock the large-scale police operation ended.
“I wasn’t there myself on Halloween night – fortunately, I must say. But it must have been really bad, my boss told me. Shots were fired left and right. Our stand was then very quickly shielded by the police and soon closed, also for security reasons, ”says an employee from the Auinger sausage stand directly on Taubenmarkt.
There are always problems with youth gangs in Linz, especially in the southern part of the city. In November 2021, New Year’s Eve rockets were fired at police officers, and a patrol car ended up on fire. It is not clear whether the incidents of the previous year are related to those of Monday evening.