Vienna, 30.03.2023 – After its successful action week against the European Gas Conference (EGC), the BlockGas alliance criticizes the extreme repression by the police and announces further protests. Since last Saturday, thousands humans with different protest actions protested against the Gas Conference in Vienna, which ended yesterday. There was disproportionate use of force by an enormous police contingent including dog squad and water cannons. The climate justice movement was criminalized in these days in a way never seen before in Austria. BlockGas therefore announces a demonstration for next Monday, April 3, at 17:45 to protest against the repression and to show solidarity.
While fossil fuel lobbyists, investors and political representatives were negotiating behind closed doors at the Marriott Hotel on Monday, they were cordoned off from legitimate protest in the streets by hundreds of police. “The real criminals were sitting in the Marriott Hotel this week! They are the gas lobbyists who are selling off our future for some profit. Nevertheless, the people who were peacefully exercising their right to demonstrate on the streets in front of the hotel were forcibly stopped by the police and held in the cold for hours. Now criminal charges are being brought against peaceful climate justice activists without any basis. This shows that the state prefers to protect the fossil fuel system instead of finally taking serious steps against the social and ecological crises we are in”, says Verena Gradinger, spokesperson for BlockGas.
External observers such as Amnesty International expressed concern about the police’s brutal actions. Over a hundred activists suffered extreme and disproportionate police violence on Monday and now even face criminal prosecution. “This is a new level of criminalization of the climate movement! Minister of the Interior Karner even still praised the police, who hit encircled people and sprayed them with pepper spray. But we will not be intimidated by this. We will continue to stand up for a just world. Peaceful civil disobedience is essential for this – that’s why we must now work together to prevent such violent police action and extreme repression by the state apparatus against social movements from becoming normalized!”, says Anselm Schindler, spokesperson for BlockGas.
The demonstration against repression and criminalization of BlockGas will take place next Monday, April 3, from 17:45. The demonstration, which is organized together with other civil society organizations, will start at Ballhausplatz, after which it will move past the provincial police headquarters to the Rossauer Lände police detention center.