VIENNA — From a distance, the fierce-looking eagles on the banners Austrian builder Markus Voglreiter is flying in the town of Obertrum may look similar to the bird on his country’s national flag.

But the bananas his eagles are clutching were enough of a departure to get Voglreiter charged with “vilification of symbols of the republic.”

Voglreiter had the satirical banners made because he thinks Austria’s repeatedly failed or postponed attempts to elect a president make the country look like a banana republic.

He was ordered to take them down, but raised them again after the vilification charges were dropped.

Voglreiter isn’t worried about facing new charges. He says there are enough differences between the state symbol and his eagles for a credible defense.

One of his birds even smokes a cigar.


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