is still a Weapon! An account of the Global Action Day on March 2nd 2010
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. 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. 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.
for your solidarity and keep on fighting!