The occupation at the University of Vienna continues today. Messages of support can be left at the solidarity page on Facebook, and are much appreciated. The students are demanding free education, and banners with slogans like ‘EDUCATION IS NOT FOR SALE’ are hanging from the University. The students have the support of many lecturers, and remain strong in their convictions. Messages of solidarity from international students are appreciated, if you have a minute to spare drop them a line. It is an inspiring example of the action students can take, and we in Free Education for Everyone are right behind them!
Internatonal Press release:
Saturday, 31 October 2009 17:33
Austrian students squat universities! Mass-demonstrations and broad solidarity throughout the country. Throughout the last years studying conditions at Austrian universities have dramatically declined. The introduction of tuition fees, a massive cutback of democratic structures and the lack of course availability are only some examples for that development.
Reasons for that process can be found in the huge decline of university funding on one hand and the introduction of the three level “Bologna” system on the other hand. In that context the implementation of admission reductions and limits was conducted.Obviously several reasons constituted an insufficient status quo. On Thursday, October 22, the insatisfaction turned into savage protest.
At 12:00 PM several hunderd students of the Academy of Fine Arts (which was squatted the day before) and the University of Vienna gathered to make notice of their desperate situation. In a spontanious action they squatted Austrias largest auditorium in the main University building. The news of the squatting spread rapidly and soon after students from several other departments joined.
What started as a spontanious act of protest within the course of just a week, evolved into massive student protests throughout all major Austrian university cities. The University of Vienna for example is constantly being seized by several thousand people. Self-organized action groups have build up an efficient infrastructure that includes i.e. a public kitchen, first aid and legal consulting. In addition to that 100 work groups have been formed, whose main subject is the discussion of strategic and content related issues.On Wednesday October 28th , seven days after the initial squatting, Vienna witnessed one of the largest education related rallies in Austrian history, with 40.000 attendents. The following day, in Graz, Austrias second largest city, a demonstration with several thousand people took place.
The students have presented a broad catalog of demands to public and university policy makers. Those demands include among others the democratization of all aspects of university life, a massive increase in funding, free and equal admission modalities and a 50 % women clause in all positions of university adminisration and education.
Along with various organisations and groups from all corners of society and the world, many universityprofessors and administrative staff have demonstrated their solidarity with the protesting students. This and the incredible power and hope that have developed, encourage the movement to persist and grow until the students’ demands are met.
international media contact:
Workinggroup internationalpress / Occupied University of Vienna
tel.: +43 699 1920 3371
Victory to the University Of Vienna occupation! Education remains a RIGHT.