Senior officials from Austria's far-right party are defending election campaign posters that condemn so-called "Moroccan thieves" even after taking them down to avoid legal action.
The Freedom Party slogan for local elections in Innsbruck translates as "Love your home country instead of Moroccan thieves." The far-right party backs restrictions on immigration.
Innsbruck party officials said Sunday they were getting rid of the posters after Morocco threatened legal action and Austrian state prosecutors said they were considering criminal charges. August Penz, the party's local leader, said he "never intended to insult anyone."
But on Monday Gerald Hauser, the head of Tyrol's Freedom Party, said there was nothing wrong with the posters and urged Morocco to "take back its criminals."
The Freedom Party is Austria's second most popular.