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FIFTITU% - Gegen Polizeigewalt und für Demonstrationsfreiheit

FIFTITU% - Gegen Polizeigewalt und für Demonstrationsfreiheit

FIFTITU% in the Alliance against Police Violence condemns the disproportionate police operation on May 1

Alliance declaration, Linz on May 3, 2009

It was with dismay and bewilderment that we learned on May 1, 2009 that the alternative May Day demonstration approved by the authorities was prevented and broken up by the Linz police

The right to demonstrate is a constitutional right and an essential cornerstone of our democracy. According to the police, a violation of the ban on wearing masks, i.e. an administrative offense, triggered an intervention. However, as can be seen beyond doubt in numerous photos and videos, no masked person can be seen from the beginning to the end of the encirclement. Why the police continue to claim the opposite is a mystery to us. And even if there had been a few people wearing masks at the beginning this cannot justify such a harsh intervention - even against those who wanted to mediate.

The general atmosphere in the anti-fascist block was peaceful and relaxed, as confirmed by numerous witnesses. The demo would have gone off like every year, there had never been any problems. Why the police are talking about an unprecedented potential for danger is completely incomprehensible.

The subsequent escalation - baton and pepper spray attacks by the police - was unprovoked and completely excessive, as were the brutal arrests. The mistreatment of Rainer Zendron, vice-rector of the Linz University of Art, captured on ORF footage is just one example of the scandalous actions of the police. Other detainees were mistreated even more brutally. The ORF video shows a police officer beating a demonstrator more than a dozen times. The man concerned then had to be treated at the AKH

This all happened while neo-Nazis - with their hands raised in salute - strolled through the city largely unhindered and, in addition to the alternative May Day demonstration, also attended a barbecue organized by the Kinderfreunde on Pfarrplatz. At this point in time, it is not yet clear whether the escalation on the part of the police was due to excessive demands on the local police or a deliberate escalation of the situation

We expressly welcome the investigation announced by Security Director Lißl and are confident that the analysis of various sources will show what caused the events of May 1st. The events of May 1st are not only highly alarming in terms of democratic policy, they also thwart the efforts of the city of Linz to present itself as an open city of culture.

We demand a full investigation into the police operation, the immediate termination of the proceedings and a return to democratic rules and freedom of demonstration.

The alliance against police violence was founded spontaneously and is already supported by 110 organizations and more than 300 individuals. (As of May 5, 2009, 9:30 p.m.)

For further information please contact: Vanessa Gaigg 0650 / 27 28 398