Anti-terror barrier leads to strife in Austrian coalition

VIENNA - Austria's government has stopped construction of an anti-terror barrier meant to protect the chancellor's office after a media-led campaign against it. And with October elections looming, both government coalition partners are saying the unpopular measure wasn't their idea.

Social Democratic Minister Thomas Drozda says he first learned about the barrier on Twitter.

But Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka of the centre-right People's Party says the Social Democrats wanted the barrier and signed off on the start of building.

Chancellor Christian Kern announced the end of construction Thursday.

Work on the eight-meter (more than eight-yard) long blocks, each nearly a meter (almost a yard) high, with pedestrian passageways separating them, led to criticism from opposition parties who said public areas needed protection more urgently, and from others on esthetic grounds.


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