Austria bans use of symbols of Croatian fascists

Money fines of up to EUR 4,000 euros are envisaged for those breaking the law - up to EUR 10,000 for repeat offenders.

The Austrian Ministry of the Interior made an updated list of forbidden Islamist and nationalist symbols.

It contains 13 flags and symbols including of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, as well as of the military part of Hezbollah, the Turkish Gray Wolves, the Kurdish PKK, and the Croatian Ustashas.

Ustashas were in power in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), a WW2 Nazi-allied entity that organized and operated death camps for Serbs, Jews, and Roma, including Jasenovac.

When it comes to Ustasha symbols, the list contains the Ustasha flag, i.e., the one where the checkerboard starts with a white field, and another Ustasha symbol, a U-shaped inscription with a hand grenade and the same style of checkerboard.

The reason to include symbols is the annual commemoration (for Ustashas) held in Bleiburg, Austria, which has been turning in recent years into the largest Nazi gathering in Europe.

Until now, Austrian authorities could not punish the participants in the commemoration who carried Ustasha symbols, because the law only banned the use of Nazi symbols. For that reason, the raised right hand salute also went unpunished - as it was explained to be "Ustasha, not Nazi."

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