Police break up rowdy ‘escalator party’

Police break up rowdy 'escalator party'
The exciting moment when the ribbon was cut. Photo: Kurier/Juerg Christandl
What began as an ironic party to celebrate the opening of a new escalator at a Vienna metro station ended with a group of students being reported to the police for disorderly behaviour.

Police were called to Schottentor U-Bahn station at around 9pm on Tuesday after reports of criminal damage. Residents from nearby properties had also complained about the noise.

Around 50 people from the ‘Big Rolltreppen Opening party’ had spilled out of the station and were continuing to celebrate outside on the street.

The party had been announced on Facebook, in the spirit of satire. The “big escalator” is the one which leads from Schottentor to the Liechtensteinstrasse exit. It had taken a year to complete renovations on the escalator.

15,000 people had said they would attend the event at 7pm but in the end it was several hundred people, mostly students, who turned up to witness the official cutting of the Wiener Linien ribbon and then ride the new escalator.

But by 9pm the station had become overcrowded and had to be shut, and Wiener Linien staff asked people to leave. A rowdy crowd gathered for an ‘after party’ on the street and police spokesman Patrick Maierhofer said that when they were asked to move on, they refused.

26 people were asked to show their ID cards and some were reported for disturbing the peace and littering the street. No evidence of criminal damage was found.