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[rohrpost] Austrian right-conservative government passes budget, illegalizesprotests

Austrian right-conservative 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 system.

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 

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 documentation of the events is available at:

For more information in german language, please visit:

pionier der telearbeit -

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