Protesters take to streets in Vienna after cafe ejects lesbian couple

VIENNA (REUTERS) - More than 1,000 people took to the streets on Friday to protest in front of a famous Viennese cafe after it ejected a lesbian couple for kissing in public.

The decision to order the couple out of Cafe Prueckel caused outrage on social media in Austria.

"Everyone should have the same rights, including to have a coffee. Vienna's cafe scene is still very conservative and traditional," said Mr Julian Bartl, 20, a student among the 1,500 to 2,000 demonstrators police estimated were on hand.

A few locked lips in solidarity.

"Free love for all. It is ridiculous that this is happening in the 21st century, especially in Vienna. I come from Greece and Vienna is a thousand times more tolerant," added Ms Nikoletta Korkos, 27, a dancer.

The couple at the centre of the storm told Austrian media they had merely exchanged a kiss as a greeting.

"It was more than a welcoming kiss," cafe proprietor Christl Sedlar told Reuters.

Austrian media said she expressed regret over the incident and apologised eventually.

The constitutional court this week ordered lawmakers to let same-sex couples adopt a child.

The highest court had previously forced them to allow artificial insemination for lesbian couples in the Alpine country.