Security officials in Vienna expect large demonstrations to take place near the Hofburg Palace complex on Friday, January 26. Over 3000 security forces will reportedly be deployed to provide security for the annual Wiener Akademiker Ball on Friday, an event organized by the ruling far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), which will be held at the Hofburg Palace beginning at 17:00 (local time). Security officials anticipate that several thousand people will participate in demonstrations against the government during the event, and that clashes between police and protesters could erupt with little warning. Additionally, traffic disruptions should be expected in the vicinity of the Hofburg Palace complex and any demonstrations throughout the evening of January 26.
The Wiener Akademiker Ball has been held annually by the FPÖ since 2013. The ball is typically attended by right-wing and far-right members of European political parties, drawing intense public criticism and annual protests. Demonstrations have occurred both with and without the approval of the city government, and often have resulted in clashes between police and demonstrators. In 2014, a violent protest broke out involving around 2500 people, causing significant property damage in central Vienna, before being dispersed by police with tear gas and pepper spray.
Individuals in Vienna are advised to avoid all demonstrations as a precaution due to the risk of violence and to anticipate transportation disruptions.
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