• Austria's news in English
 

Riot police with water cannon evict squatters

Published: 28 Jul 2014 10:01 GMT+02:00

Since 5:00 am this morning the activists, who have been occupying most of a house in Mühlfeldgasse for over two years, have been preparing for their eviction by blocking the entrance to the house and the street with sofas and other bulky piece of furniture.

Around 30 police cars and at least 200 police, some dressed in riot gear and gas masks, are at the scene and the entire street has been sealed off.

Police reportedly had to use chainsaws to get through some of the barricades blocking the entrance to the house. 

Some journalists have not been allowed into the area, "out of concern for their safety". Passers-by have had their bags searched. 

ORF journalist Petra Pichler reports that there are 1,700 police waiting to be called in if the situation escalates.

According to informal police sources, one policeman was injured when a TV was thrown from one of the upper floors.

The Nordbahnstraße has been shut to traffic between Praterstern and Darwingasse.


Photo: APA (Neubauer)

A police spokesman said there are worries that a group of German anarchists may have travelled down to support the Viennese squatters.

It is unclear how many people were, or still are in the building - but unofficial sources say between 20 and 50.

A police helicopter is circling the area and there is also a truck with water cannons nearby.

Many people on Twitter are commenting on what they say is a disproportionate police response. 

Vienna Greens politician Georg Prack said that in his opinion "the police operation bears no relation to the occasion. Hundreds of police officers, an armoured car, water cannons, and large-scale road closures are unsettling the local population." 

PICTURE GALLERY: Police prepare to evict anarchist squat

The squat, which calls itself Pizzeria Anarchia, is the only one in Vienna. The owner reportedly invited the group of young anarchists to move into an empty apartment himself, in November 2011. 

The place is badly in need of renovations and the owner hoped that the anarchists would scare off the older tenants who were refusing to move, and clear the way for a new real estate project.

However, the squatters became sympathetic to the tenants' plight, as they explained in a recent blog post.

Castella GmbH currently owns the building, and has offered the squatters a space in Vienna's 15th district. They are, however, refusing to move, as they say the owners are only interested in using them to "increase their profits". 

"Tactics which were used by Castella GmbH to try and make [residents] leave include: vandalism of the supply systems, damaging the roof to allow rain to enter the flats, refusal to carry out maintenance work, nightly visits of intimidating individuals, financial offers and attacks with Butyric acid, used oil and paint," Pizzeria Anarchia's blog post said. 

The interior of the squat. Photo: fm5ottensheim.blogspot

For more stories about Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Teenager charged with terror offences
Photo: APA (Archiv/epa)

Teenager charged with terror offences

Prosecutors in St Pölten, Lower Austria, have charged a 14-year-old boy with terror offences after he researched how to build a bomb online and made contact with militants supporting Islamic State fighters in Syria. READ  

Wet and stormy weather outlook for Easter
Photo: Marius Becker/DPA

Wet and stormy weather outlook for Easter

Summertime may have officially begun but the weather outlook for Austria over the Easter week is wet and stormy, with a storm warning in effect on Tuesday from Vorarlberg to Lower Austria. READ  

Vienna showcases city's shock art movement
Hermann Nitsch, at a museum in Naples dedicated to his work. Photo: APA/HOCHMUTH

Vienna showcases city's shock art movement

As artists, they pushed the limits, bathing in blood, mud and urine. Vienna's famed "Actionists", whose avant garde movement may be the most radical in contemporary art, are the focus of a new exhibition in their home city. READ  

Vienna third among Europe's 'sootfree cities'
Vienna has a good network of cycling lanes. Photo: APA/FOHRINGER

Vienna third among Europe's 'sootfree cities'

Vienna ranks third among 23 major European cities for its efforts to fight air pollution, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) said on Tuesday. READ  

Two arrests in Nazi graffiti case
An example of the graffiti in Perchtoldsdorf. Photo: Lower Austrian Police

Two arrests in Nazi graffiti case

Police have tracked down two men who are believed to have daubed Nazi slogans on walls and cars in the Lower Austrian market town of Perchtoldsdorf at the end of last year. READ  

Avalanche danger rises to 'high' in Tyrol
Photo: APA/Barbara Gindl

Avalanche danger rises to 'high' in Tyrol

A 42-year-old man from South Tyrol was seriously injured in an avalanche in Prägraten in East Tyrol on Sunday. READ  

US financier Soros 'ready to invest in Ukraine'

US financier Soros 'ready to invest in Ukraine'

US financier George Soros has said he is ready to invest $1 billion in Ukraine if the West promises to help the embattled country. READ  

Pegida marchers in Graz clash with left-wingers
The Pegida march in Graz. Photo: APA/ERWIN SCHERIAU

Pegida marchers in Graz clash with left-wingers

Around 150 supporters of the German “anti-Islamisation” group Pegida held a march in Austria’s second largest city of Graz on Sunday. Three people were slightly injured in clashes with left-wing protesters. READ  

Austrian airlines mandate 'two-crew' rule
File photo: APA/HERBERT NEUBAUER

Austrian airlines mandate 'two-crew' rule

German and Austrian airlines on Friday joined other international carriers in adopting a new safety rule to ensure two crew are in a plane's cockpit at all times. READ  

Austrian teens ‘wanted to be jihadi brides’
Graz's Jakomini prison. Photo: APA

Austrian teens ‘wanted to be jihadi brides’

Three teenage girls from Graz have been detained in custody in Jakomini prison after allegedly planning to leave Austria for Syria where they intended to marry Islamic State fighters. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
The woman behind Gymboree Vienna - helping young children learn as they play
National
Your guide to celebrating Easter in Austria
Features
Help Me Helen: How to recognise if you're in denial
Features
The 'world's most beautiful boulevard' turns 150
Features
Why the ghost of Jörg Haider haunts Austria's finances
National
Vienna: 'Best city in the world'
Features
Why multicultural couples can combine the 'best of both worlds'
Society
Kampusch judge in perjury acquittal
Features
Help Me Helen: How to avoid saying things you'll later regret
National
Ten phrases you'll only hear at work in Austria
Culture
Austrian gourmet cuisine proves to be a highlight in London
Culture
Pickled herring on Ash Wednesday - a culinary treat
Features
How superstitious are Austrians? The Local lists a few of the stranger ideas
Features
British musician Tall William on mapping Vienna's music scene
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Features
Nine things to know before dating an Austrian
Business & Money
FATCA: 'The age of financial privacy is over'
National
Celebrating immigration with beautiful accessories
Gallery
Sponsored: Fun factory for the under-fives
Health
Help Me Helen: How to avoid invalidating others
International
How should Austria respond to Russia's new aggressive foreign policy?
Health
Expat Profile: Helen Rudinsky
Features
How Austria's music scene inspired the pioneer of Electro Swing
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Features
Bitcoins are growing in Austria - but what are they?
National
12,000 support IAmCharlie in Vienna
Health
Gender identity is all in your head.
Technology
How to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus
Gallery
Daniel Craig enjoys the view with Lea Seydoux and Dave Bautista
Culture
Celebrate an Austrian New Year with The Local
National
Top stories on The Local in 2014
Culture
Our pick of the best German language idioms
Travel & Tourism
The most common mistakes tourists make in Austria
Society
Afghan refugees get integration help
Society
Waiting to be smuggled into Austria after a tortuous journey
Culture
Facing up to death over coffee and cake
Gallery
What foods did Austrians search the most in 2014?
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Society
Vienna's Ring is about to celebrate its 150th birthday
Travel & Tourism
A slice of Austria in northern California
International
An Austrian surgeon is working to repair broken bodies in Ukraine
Travel & Tourism
Tales of Couchsurfing in Vienna
International
Nuclear incidents show dangers of weapons
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,464
jobs available