FARM Protests Austrian Repression at Embassy
May 26, 2010
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On Wednesday, May 26th, FARM staff and volunteers protested
outside of the Austrian Embassy as part of the Shame on Austria campaign for the
13 animal activists currently on trial in Austria (see background information
below). An element of the Shame on Austria solidarity campaign is a chain of
demonstrations with at least one protest in one country every week of the trial.
Today this global campaign came to Washington DC.
For an hour, activists
gathered and marched in front of the Austrian Embassy chanting messages and
carrying large signs reading “Stop Austrian Repression,” “Activism is NOT a
crime,” “Protect Free Speech,” and “Drop All Charges- Shame On Austria!”
Protesters expressed outrage at the current treatment of animal advocates by the
Austrian government and demanded that all charges against these individuals be
During the demonstration, a few FARM activists approached the
embassy to deliver a letter to the the embassy's public information officer,
Wolfgang Renezeder. Friendly and apologetic, Mr Renezeder was aware of the
worldwide protests that have been going on with the
Shame on Austria campaign
and agreed to make sure the letter is delivered to the Ministry of Justice in
FARM will continue to take a stand and speak out against the
Austrian government until this injustice is stopped and the charges against the
13 animal protection activists are dropped.
Two years ago, the homes and offices of ten leading Austrian animal
advocates were raided and these individuals were kept in solitary confinement
for several months. This has been shown to be part of a two year investigation
which has resulted in twenty-six homes and seven NGO office searches,
informants, wiretaps, e-mail surveillance and personal and vehicle tracking. All
of the money, time and resources dedicated to this harassment have yielded no
direct evidence of any criminal activity by those targeted.
“evidence” against several of these defendants is that they organized and took
part in demonstrations, distributed leaflets, expressed opinions in internet
debates and engaged in other fully legal NGO campaign work. Section 278a of the
Austrian Criminal Code is being used to argue that these activities, although
legal, have influenced other “unknown persons” to commit illegal offences.
Aboveground activists, doing legal work, are being made responsible for the
actions of people totally unknown to them. This week marks the 11th week of
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Let's continue to speak out for compassion and justice!