Police camera teams to film Akademikerball protests
Austrian police have said they will have 29 camera teams in action on the night of the controversial right-wing Akademikerball (Academics Ball) in Vienna on January 29th, to help them collect evidence in the event of violent clashes.
The yearly event is a known gathering place for Austrian and German nationalist student fraternity members, some of whom are described as right-wing extremists.
Last January thousands of people took part in marches in protest against the ball and several people were arrested after outbreaks of violence, including a 23-year-old German student who was accused of attacking and injuring police officers.
Police spokesman Hans Golob said that this year police would not wear body cameras but would have cameras mounted on poles so that they can film above the crowds.
“We’ll be able to document exactly who does what,” police chief Gerhard Pürstl said. Between 2,500 and 2,800 officers will be deployed on the night, with backup coming from other federal states.
Police said that so far two marches and one rally against the ball have been registered, as well as four rallies in support of the ball. The deadline for applications ends just 24 hours before the ball, so police expect more protests will be announced nearer to the date.
An exclusion zone will be set up around the Hofburg palace, where the ball takes place.