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Austrians can swear or make obscene gestures at politicans, court rules

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Heinz-Christian Strache
Heinz-Christian Strache -
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Reuters
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Citizens have the right to "give the finger" or swear at politicians as long as they have a justification behind the action, an Austrian court has ruled.

Austrian vice-chancellor Heinz-Cristian Strache had accused a group of far-left activists of "public insults" after they released a video attacking him on social media. However, the court of appeal in Vienna dismissed the complaint on free speech grounds.

The right to "provocative and shocking" political opinion is a "fundamental part of freedom of expression," the court ruled, confirming an earlier decision by a lower court.

The Linkswende Jetzt, or Left Now, group had produced a video which offered a series of reasons for supporters to declare "Fuck Strache" and raise their middle fingers to the leader of the far-right Freedom party.