Austrian Solidarity & A Chance To Achieve A Vctory

11/11/10

I'm looking for activists from Austria-neighbouring countries to join an international action on the Austrian border as part of the Shame on Austria campaign http://www.shameonaustria.org to support the persecuted activists in Austria.

It is now a very important time for the campaign as the Austrian parliament is to have a session on 23rd November where an amendment of the anti-mafia law, which has been used against the 13 activists on trial, will be considered. There is a chance to achieve a reform that would make it impossible for the prosecution to sustain the current charge! Moreover, there is a significant support of the reform among the Austrian politicians BUT how much they will push it through depends on the amount of public pressure that we are able to create (this was literally said by one influential social democrat).

That's why the campaign is so important now. If we manage to achieve the reform of the law, not only will it help the currently persecuted activists, it will become an important precedent proving that it is possible to successfully defend oneself against vicious state repression.

So in the week between 15th and 21th November, we would like to have protest actions on different border crossings with Austria. We have called this a "banana week". Why banana? Because the idea is to block the crossings for a few minutes and give the people in the vehicles free bananas. These bananas would have stickers "Produce of Austria" and the protestors could have some funny banana costumes with flags of Austria that would have a banana "emblem" in the middle. The message of the action would be that, in a few days, Austria would be about to make a very important decision - whether they want to walk the way of a developed constitutional state or rather the way of a banana republic (i.e. whether they want to keep the law as it is, giving a blessing to persecuting people for their political activities and opinions, or whether they want to reform it to give a clear stance that such practices won't be tolerated in Austria).

There are a lot of things going on in this case that fully justify the reference to a banana republic - such as mocking constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, clear evidence about the links between bosses of a fur-selling shop and those who started the special investigation unit, suppressing the publicity of the trial, denying access to the police files despite two verdicts ruling this is unacceptable etc. These things would, of course, be explained to the media as well as to the people in the standing cars...

The purpose of the action is to gain media coverage both in Austria and internationally, creating the impression that the case is causing international embarrasment for Austria, thus increasing the public pressure on the Austrian politicians. And there is a very good chance we could achieve this! In April, we did a short blockade of the Czech-Austrian border crossing and gained fantastic media coverage, including TV reports on all 3 national TV channels in the Czech Republic. It was by far the most covered international action supporting the Austrian activists. More info: http://shameonaustria.org/en/news.php?article=1

There is a good chance that you could do this completely legally (as we did in April). There is one very good verdict by the European Court of Justice which recognises that a road-blocking protest can be seen as exercising the freedom of assembly guaranteed by the constitutions of all Austria-neighbouring states. And if the blocking lasts just a few minutes, your chances of getting through are even higher.

Please write to me as soon as possible at english@shameonaustria.org if you are interested in joining this international action or have any question or comment - then we can work out the details.

Best regards,
Marek

 

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© Keith Mann
puppypincher@yahoo.co.uk