Austria: Anti-migration party on defensive over rat poem

An anti-migration party that serves in Austria's government has called "tasteless" a poem written by a local official that compared migrants with rats and angered Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

The ditty titled "The Town Rat" appeared in a local publication of the Freedom Party in Braunau. It warned against mixing cultures and drew strong criticism from the center-left opposition. Kurz, a conservative who governs Austria with the party as his coalition partner, demanded Monday that its branch in Upper Austria province distance itself from the poem and said that "the choice of words is abhorrent, inhuman and deeply racist."

A top official with the Freedom Party's regional branch, Erwin Schreiner, later Monday said that "the allegory of rat and human is historically loaded, and so tasteless and to be rejected."