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Sunday, December 21 2014 @ 12:49 AM CST

New House Searches and Continued Harrassment Targeting Animal Rights Activists in Austria

News ArchiveA little over a year after the 23 house and office searches culmintating in the arrest and 3 ½ month imprisonment of 10 animal rights activists, the repression seems to have no end. Despite the fact that the special commission has already written their final reports on those suspected of being part of a „criminal organization“ according to §278a of the Austrian Penal Code (encompassing about 40 people!), the police conducted three house searches on Wednesday, June 10. But not quite as planned...

The person targeted by the searches was one of the 10 activists who was in jail last summer – and whose house was already searched! This search can only be seen as a further attempt to scare the animal rights scene and as evidence of the complete arbitrariness of the investigations.

The activist was at none of the three residences which were searched, but many other activists went to the one address in Vienna to show solidarity and to let the police know that they cannot carry out such actions in secrecy and without consequences. About 15 activists came early enough to block the police from entering the building. They held banners saying „Against cages and prisons: for the liberation of humans and animals“ and „Abolish §278: end all the proceedings.“ The police called in for back up, and elite cops came to end the blockade. The cops first tore apart a banner and then dragged the activists one by one out of the house. After writing down their information, all were released – except one, who refused to identify herself.

Eventually between 40 and 50 activists were there to show their solidarity, and these activists also managed to block the police car that was supposed to take the one arrested person away. People chanted, „We are all 278a!“ and „1, 2, 3, let her free!“ After about 40 minutes, the police only managed to drive her away by quickly switching cars and blocking the way with a large number of officers and police dogs. One officer shoved an activist to the ground, lightly injuring him. This cop then refused to give his police ID number, which the activists loudly demanded. Thanks in part to the presence of mainstream media, the cop was not able to shirk his responsibility to provide this piece of identification as otherwise would certainly have been the case.

In the meanwhile, the house search was carried out and the one activist arrested at the solidarity protest has been released. Sadly, there is no reason to believe that this episode will mark the end of the harrassment from the police and the prosecutors. According to rumors in the press, the „justice“ ministry is reviewing the charges. When the charges will be announced and what they will actually be remains a mystery. One thing is certain, no matter what form the repression takes, it will be met with a strong solidarity movement that will not be intimidated!

More background information: http://antirep2008.lnxnt.org
A downloadable English reader from the Antirep group: http://antirep2008.lnxnt.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/reader.pdf
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