Austria: Gay MEP attacked with acid at Vienna pride parade

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Austria’s first openly gay MEP has been attacked with acid during Vienna’s pride parade.

Ulrike Lunacek, who is the head of the Austrian Greens in the European Parliament, was sprayed with acid while giving an interview at the Rainbow Parade on Friday.

Police spokeswoman Barbara Riehs told The Local the attacker has not yet been found, though he is described as wearing a white polo shirt, with dark hair and a “solid stature.”

They were sprayed with butyric acid, which can cause pain, blistering and skin burns, while exposure to the eyes may result in pain, severe deep burns and loss of vision.

It is considered a toxic and dangerous substance, and has also been used previously in attacks on abortion clinics.

Lunacek and the TV crew were luckily all unharmed in the attack, though over €50,000 in damage was caused to the cameras and electronic equipment.

Following the incident, Lunacek said: “Never before has there been an attack at the Rainbow Parade..”

“These kinds of isolated cases show that the fight for tolerance, acceptance and respect in Austria is not over.

“Homosexuals and transgender people needed to combat fear and show that they were not only part of society, but at the centre of it.”

The newspaper reports that around 150,000 people took part in the pride parade, while around 50 took part in a fundamentalist counter-demonstration called “March for the Family”.

Austria will next year play host to the Eurovision Song Contest, following the victory of drag artist Conchita Wurst.

A venue is yet to be chosen, but Vienna is thought to be a contender.