Demo For Free Education for All

“Stop the new European law – Stoppt die UG-novelle gegen Bildungsabbau”, “Education is a right and no privilege – Bildung ist ein recht und kein Privilege”, “Reclaim your University”, “Education not for sale”. See Demo photos
000_1324aThese signs were raised yesterday July 8 2009 at 11 in the morning in the Ring Street near the Parliament, during a small demonstration organized by the students of University of Vienna. The students sat in the middle of street and blocked the traffic in a clear challenge to the Austrian Police, who was present everywhere near the Parliament and around the demonstrators. The students were protesting against the negative policy of the government toward the education, and the new laws which should to be discussed between 8th and 10th July in the parliament. These new laws affect negatively the education and the students, and threatening the space of the democracy in the universities. Th000_1307ae demonstrators described the new laws as a catastrophe which brings further massive deterioration for all universities, said the woman who spoke on behalf of the demonstrators.

The demonstrators said that the European education policies imposed during the recent years are aimed at the full economization of universities as well as the abolition of all democratic rights of teachers and students. They criticized the discussion of the law amendment under exclusion of the public by the parliament.

The Austrian police was unhappy with the students protesting, who surprised them by sitting suddenly in the middle of the street and hindering the traffic. 000_1322aThe head of the police at the scene, Mag. Peter Famler, was seen addressing the protestors through a loudspeaker to free the street for the traffic, and to continue their protest at the place named in their permission for the demonstration. A while later, officer Famler was seen talking to the organizers of the demo for more than five minutes. Another Police officer was seen showing a paper to the demonstrators and ordering them to evacuate the street.

The protestors did not obey the orders of the police and challenged the orders to evacuate the street. They continued their sit in, chanting against the SPÖ 000_1365agovernment and refusing to leave the street. “It’s our rights to raise our voice before the government, who now sits in the parliament to discuss such grave laws against our future”, said one of the demonstration organizers.
The confrontation between the protesters and police was ended after the chief of the police ordered his troops to evacuate the protestors from the street. After that, many police troops were seen proceeding along the demonstrators with anger in their faces. They forced the protestors in a non-violent way to free the area. No violent action broke out during the evacuation. The police continued pushing the demonstrators to the front, and suddenly a police clashed with one of the demonstrators in the middle of the street.

Is the Demonstration Legal?
I asked the Chief of the Police Mag. Famler: “Is the
000_1328ademonstration legal?” My question came as a result of seeing the police chasing the demonstrators away. I had never seen such a confrontation between the police and the demonstrators in Vienna.
Mag. Famler, who I had seen addressing the demonstrating students in a peaceful way asking them to free the street, clarified that the students have the legal rights to demonstrate. He said: “we already permitted the student demonstration, but the demonstrators did not abide by the permitted place of their demonstration, and they changed the place where they demonstrated to a
000_1350alocation around the corner at Löwelstrasse, before the entrance to the SPÖ headquarters, and then sat in the middle of Ring Street, and then blocked the passage of traffic in a provocative and illegal way. In this place, in the middle of the Ring Street, from where we evacuated the demonstrators, the demonstration was illegal”.

The demonstrators were allowed to continue their protest on Löwelstrasse, chanting against the SPÖ at the entrance to their headquarters. Four to five police were seen protecting the main entrance of the SPÖ. The chief of the police and the organizers of the demo organizers where seen talking with people from the local media.

See more Photos

3 comments to Demo For Free Education for All

  • jimmy

    Shit, if we tried that in the good ol USA we would be in for a beating and thrown in jail with some in hospital

  • Salaam al-Maseeh

    Assalaamu alaykum, Ms. Salam,

    Education is a God given right beginning with parents and children. After that, society may not deprive any of its citizens of their right to education and knowledge and the ability to engage in that. Great article, as always, shukran.

    BarakAllah fiik,

    Steve in Vista

  • The last time U.S. college students organized large scale protests against government policy, they were shot. Remember Kent State?
    It’s almost as if their police and armed forces are real people with a sense of right and wrong and sympathy for their own kind.
    It’s amazing how Europeans are able to display public disagreement with government without brutal retribution.
    If Americans had a cause to make them feel more bulletproof, maybe they would, also.
    Free education riots would be bloody here, the universities and government loans are one of the biggest surviving industries left.

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