Climate activists occupy lecture halls in several Austrian cities – EURACTIV.com

Student activists have occupied university lecture halls in Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck amid growing discontent with the government’s handling of the climate crisis, the education system and social injustice.

Student protests – especially the occupation of universities – are common in Austria, especially during the 2009 and 2010 protests against education sector reforms – their protest chant “Audimaximus” was chosen as the word of the day. year in 2009.

“The protests are directed against the multiple crises of our time, which are all interrelated and foremost among which is the climate crisis,” Keya Baier, board member of the Austrian student association ÖH, explained on Wednesday, per solidarity.

Dozens of students slept on the Vienna campus, 25 in Salzburg and 40 students occupied a conference room in Innsbruck.

‘We are students – our space for action is the university,’ says activist Standard. “This is the space where it is possible for us to lead the protest.”

According to the protesters, universities have a special obligation to help tackle the crises facing society – whether it is the climate crisis or inflation. They must “specifically promote research that addresses the great problems of our time and provides solutions to these crises”, explained Boryana Badinska, member of the board of directors of the ÖH.

The far right is decidedly unhappy with the protests. “Preventing others from studying is not a form of solidarity,” said Vienna’s far-right FPÖ, calling for students to be kept away.

(Nikolaus J. Kurmayer | EURACTIV.de)

Angela C. Hale