18 Oct 2008

Funeral for far-right Austrian politician

10:57 pm on 18 October 2008

Tens of thousands of mourners crowded the streets of the Austrian city of Klagenfurt on Saturday for the funeral of the far-right politician, Joerg Haider.

A memorial service was addressed by Mr Haider's friends and leading politicians, including Austria's president and chancellor, both of whom were his political opponents.

Mr Haider, 58, died in a car crash a week ago. He had been drinking alcohol.

He was driving alone after leaving a nightclub when his car crashed and overturned while travelling at more than twice the speed limit.

An official from his party, the Alliance for Austria's Future, said Mr Haider's blood alcohol level was well above the legal limit.

The accident occurred south of Klagenfurt, the capital of Carinthia, where Joerg Haider was the provincial governor for 11 years.

The centre of Klagenfurt was sealed off for the funeral ceremonies and extra police were deployed to prevent any disruption by far-right protesters.