City getting its gay traffic lights back, after far-right party scrapped them

An Austrian city is to get its gay traffic lights back – after a complaint from a far-right party was rejected

The lights featuring silhouettes of same-sex couples holding hands were originally introduced in Vienna when Austria hosted the Eurovision Song Contest back in May 2015 – but due to their popularity also spread to Linz and Salzburg.

However, the lights were scrapped in December by Linz council traffic official Markus Hein, of the far-right Freedom Party, who branded them a “misuse” of public money.

He had said: “Traffic lights are for traffic, and should not be misused to impart advice on how to live your life.”

But the Linz city council has now voted to overrule that decision, paving the way for the lights to be reinstalled once more.

Stefan Thuma, a spokesman for LGBT group HOSI, told The Local that he welcomed the decision to reinstall the lights.

He said that the Freedom Party’s decision to scrap the lights had been an “embarrassing spectacle” gaining “international attention”.

A spokesperson at the time said the lights aimed to “present Vienna as an open-minded city”.

The lights were intially intended to be temporary – but Vienna councillor Maria Vassilakou made them permanent in his city after Facebook group gained over 20,000 people in favour of keeping the lights.

The Freedom Party have been making gains in the country’s opinion polls in recent years,

They are now the third biggest party in the Austrian national council after securing 34 seats at the last general election in 2013.

Far right groups have been making gains in several countries in Europe, most recently in France where the Far-right National Front party made large gains in French regional elections.