Solidarity is still a Weapon!

An account of the Global Action Day on March 2nd 2010

March 2nd saw activists all over Europe making their opinion known about the criminal prosecution of thirteen Austrian animal rights campaigners charged with membership of a criminal organisation. We would like to thank all who took the time and trouble to show their solidarity. It was very much appreciated and indeed makes all the differences for the accused. In Austria, the day started off with banners being hung up on houses and along the highway A2, visible for the defendants on their way to the court in Wiener Neustadt (for example over Triesterstraße). While the trial started off, around 60-70 protesters took over the square in front of the court house, played music, distributed leaflets and made sure that the people inside noticed their presence. A demonstration around the court house with people using their drum kits put a finishing touch to this well organized event ( report 1 , report 2 , Photos 1 , Video 1, Video 2 ). In the evening, there were further demos in Innsbruck and in Vienna. In Innsbruck around 100 people joined in when a spontaneous solidarity march was arranged. At the end of the march the police decided to put a stop to the action and rounded up 15 people and made them to hand over their personal details. In Vienna 70 people vociferously demanded the instant discontinuation of the legal proceedings (photos). In neighbouring Switzerland, actions started off with the hanging up of placard s and banners in Zurich and Bern. In Bern ten people organised a spur–of-the-moment demo, after they had made their opinion known in front of the Austrian consulate. Also in Geneva and Lucerne, people gathered in front of the respective consulates.

Germany saw quite a lot of action: In the morning, ten people demonstrated in front of the consulate in Bremen, where a petition was handed over demanding the end of the proceedings and the abandonment of the mafia paragraph §278a. At the same time, eight activists in Munich occupied the local consulate and chained themselves to the interior. The police then came and arrested the protesters. They were released shortly after, but know face prosecution on breaching domestic peace as the consul wants to press charges. Anybody surprised? Shortly after, twenty people held a demo in front of the consulate dressed up in prisoner’s clothes. In Hamburg, 16 protesters held a rally in front of the consulate, which was conveniently closed for the day because of the demo and then took their concern to the city centre. In close by Kiel there was a picket in front of the consulate, too, and in a spoken contribution as well as on leaflets the abstruse dimension of the surveillance methods used by police prior to the case were addressed. In Dresden, eight activists remained on the doorsteps of the consulates for two hours, holding up banners and distributing leaflets. In Magdeburg, a mural was placed on a blank wall, stating that “Animal Liberation is not crime”. Albeit of pouring rain, about fifty demonstrators took to the streets of Dortmund to show their solidarity. Next to banners and placards, the activists also brought a life-size puppet with which they wanted to allude to the breach of human rights as seen in this court case. About the same amount of people made their protest known in Berlin, where a procession took place from Potsdamer Platz to the Austrian embassy. Referring to the occupation of the consulate in Munich earlier that day, the police, however, refused to let the activists come near the entrance of the building, let alone speak with the ambassador. Finally, there was a solidarity demo in Stuttgart.

But also in the non-German-speaking countries, people took their protests to the Austrian consulates and embassies. In Helsinki, ten people picketed the embassy and then gave a letter to the ambassador, stating their resistance to the repression. There were also protests and solidarity actions in Stockholm. The Dutch capital Amsterdam got its share of protest, too. In London, police tried to move the protestors away from the embassy but to no avail. With megaphones and leaflets the activists made their opinion on these draconian measures by the Austrian government known. In Spain, there were protests in Barcelona, and Madrid. And we also heard of action taking place in Warsaw.

Thanks again for your solidarity and keep on fighting!

Antirep278a