Austria’s chancellery on Thursday halted the construction of anti-terror walls outside its office in Vienna after critics slammed the government for failing to provide similar protective measures in main tourist areas. Works began last month to build five large concrete blocks outside the historic Hofburg palace which houses the offices of the chancellor and the president.
The barriers — each eight metres long, 80 centimetres high and one metre wide — were intended to withstand potential ramming attacks by vehicles, used as weapons in terror attacks across Europe over the past year.
But the €1.5 millio ($1.8 million) project sparked outrage among political opponents of Chancellor Christian Kern, ahead of a national election on October 15th. Critics including the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) accused Kern, a Social Democrat, of double standards.
Vienna had refused to put up anti-terror structures in key tourist areas after jihadists killed 16 people using vehicles and knives in Spain last month.