• 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
Austrian to be released from UAE after ten weeks
An innocent holiday snap could mean trouble in the UAE. Photo: FritzDaCat/Wikimedia

Austrian to be released from UAE after ten weeks

An Austrian holidaymaker held in the United Arab Emirates for more than ten weeks after he photographed the Iranian embassy has been released and ordered to pay a 50 Euro fine. READ  

Austrian teen jihadist jailed for bomb plot
Rudolf Mayer, lawyer to the accused teen. Photo: Sven Wolter/Wikimedia

Austrian teen jihadist jailed for bomb plot

A 14-year-old boy who plotted a bomb attack on a Vienna train station was sentenced on Tuesday to eight months' detention. READ  

Refugees smuggled through Vienna airport
Vienna airport. Photo: Bangin/Wikimedia

Refugees smuggled through Vienna airport

Employees of a private security company at Vienna International Airport have allegedly been smuggling refugees into the United States and Great Britain, according to a spokesman for the Lower Austria state prosecutor based in Korneuburg. READ  

Man dead after fatal shooting on Vienna tram
Photo: Andrew Nash/Wikimedia

Man dead after fatal shooting on Vienna tram

One man was killed and another seriously injured in a shooting on a tram car in Vienna on Sunday evening. READ  

Train tragedy leaves five dead in Purgstall
A train similar to the one involved in the accident. Photo: Herbert Ortner/Wikimedia

Train tragedy leaves five dead in Purgstall

According to police five people were killed when their vehicle was hit by a train at a level crossing 80km west of Vienna on Friday. READ  

Eurovision Song Contest
Wild card Oz seeks upset at Eurovision pop fest
Australian singer Guy Sebastian. Photo: DianeSunshineCoast/Wikimedia

Wild card Oz seeks upset at Eurovision pop fest

Australian singer Guy Sebastian will try to beat the Europeans at their own game in Vienna on Saturday night in the 60th annual Eurovision Song Contest, the uproarious pop extravaganza. READ  

12 points for Vienna's cost of living
Photo: R Waites

12 points for Vienna's cost of living

Vienna is not only the world’s most liveable city - according to international consulting firm Mercer - but it’s also one of the best value capitals in Europe. READ  

Brutal double murder in Vienna's Donaustadt
Photo: ORF

Brutal double murder in Vienna's Donaustadt

An elderly couple have been murdered at their home in Vienna’s Donaustadt, according to a report on Austrian broadcaster ORF. READ  

Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision's turkeys and triumphs
Winners from the 2015 second Semi-Final on stage. Photo: Andres Putting (EBU)

Eurovision's turkeys and triumphs

As the Eurovision Song Contest celebrates its 60th anniversary watched by some 200 million worldwide, here is a trip down Eurovision memory lane - turkeys, dictators, Mormons, orcs, drag queens and all. READ  

Eurovision Song Contest
Bearded man in dress finds Conchita 'repulsive'
CATHEDRAL OF CHRIST THE SAVIOUR, MOSCOW. At the enthronement ceremony for Kirill, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. Photo: Russian President's Office (Kremlin)

Bearded man in dress finds Conchita 'repulsive'

The Patriarch of Russia's Orthodox Church on Thursday said he found the Eurovision Song Contest repulsive with its "bearded female singers", referring to last year's drag queen winner Conchita Wurst. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
A trip down memory lane - Eurovision turkeys and triumphs
National
Is Eurovision a stage for geopolitical conflicts?
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: 9 questions every expat should ask
Features
Douze or nul points? The Eurovision acts to watch
National
No Conchita: Meet Austria's Eurovision hope
Features
Ten fabulous gourmet restaurants to splash out on in Vienna
Features
How couples counselling can revolutionize your relationship
Gallery
Vienna's 2015 Life Ball Gallery
Travel
The best bars and hotels in Vienna for breathtaking views
Features
How Hitler's birth house haunts a small Austrian town
Features
The lowdown on GIS - Austria's TV and radio license
Features
Got friends? Helping expat parents find buddies for their kids.
Features
Insider Tips: Five lesser known gems to discover in Vienna
National
Ten 'false friends' to watch out for when learning German
Features
Could climate change influence the music we listen to?
Five unusual cafes we recommend visiting in Vienna
National
Vienna museum showcases city's shocking 'Actionist' art movement
Features
The woman behind Gymboree Vienna - helping young children learn as they play
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
Features
How superstitious are Austrians? The Local lists a few of the stranger ideas
Features
Nine things to know before dating an Austrian
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?
Features
How Austria's music scene inspired the pioneer of Electro Swing
Features
Bitcoins are growing in Austria - but what are they?
Health
Gender identity is all in your head.
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

2,484
jobs available