checkpoint austria on 5 Dec 2000 23:57:48 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] austria | anti-government protests

Austrian right-wing government passes budget, illegalizes protests.

Vienna, 12/05/00 - As a reaction to the parlamentary vote on the budget
2001 on wednesday, dec. 6, critics including trade unions, oppositional
parties such as the social democrats (spoe) and the green party
organized protests throughout the country. Furthermore 20.000 teachers
went on strike to show their disregard with deep cuts in the educational

All in all, around 60 demonstrations had been registrated, more than 30
in Vienna alone. The majority were part of "Checkpoint Austria"
(, an effort of a nationwide blockade
of traffic between 7am and 8am in the morning. The action was organized
by a wide spectrum of groups and aimed to remind the population of the
fact, that this budget represents a major leap in the government's
efforts towards a right-conservative, anti-social republic.

In the early evening, women activist groups announced protested at the
parlament to express their concern about the recently nominated minister
for social and women affairs, Herbert Haupt. Being already the 3rd
exchanged minister since the building of the right-conservative
government in february, he had announced last week, that abortion might
be legal in the future only without an agreement of the father (he
denied this the day after). Still, for critics already the fact that a
male politician who is at the same time member of an extremly
reactionary party like the freedom party (fpoe) became minister for
women affairs is a remarkable step back in the struggle of women rights.

Nevertheless the police systematically tried to prevent the rallies by
not accepting their legal status. This was argumented by the
demonstrations opposing public welfare and interest, being responsible
for increased emission of noise and exhausted fumes intolerable for the
residents. The few legal demonstration were able to achieve this status
only by guaranties to stay on sidewalks without blocking any traffic.
Beyond that, the ministry for infrastructure - owner of most major
streets in Austria - had suits against illegalized protesters prepared.
According to this legal argumentation every demonstration could
theoretically be criminalized.

Considering recent blockades of anti-transit activists in tyrol or of
anti-nuclear activists at the czech border, this is even more striking.
In these cases the government not only tolerated compareable messures
but even supported them openly.

Due to the illegal status of the rallies, the police had free hand to
act extremly agressive. Protesters were pushed roughly, even hit and
received denunciations already for crossing the street. According to 
estimations of Checkpoint Austria, at least 70 denunciations were spoken
out against activists until noon. They will be accused of breach of
public peace, an assault that can be sentenced with up to 3 years
imprisonment. There are reports telling of 3 protestors put under arrest
but released soon after.

Photographers of the Austrian Press Agency (APA) who wanted to document
police-violence were verbally threatened, hindered and even knocked down
by uniformed and civil policeforces. In one case civil policemen hit on
a photographer's camera-equipment with having parts of it destroyed.

Also in the evening time trade unions organized a demonstration with
between 5.000 and 8.000 participants who built a humen chain around the
parlament. The protests basically targeted the planned cuts in 
the social security system. Here the police behaved more disgreet, only
minor riots were reported.

For tomorrow morning, 7am, there are further demonstrations planned in
front of the parlament.


A detailed (german) documentation & images of the events is available

For more information in german a visit of the following links are

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