Salzburg court sides with beggars over police fine

Salzburg court sides with beggars over police fine
Photo: Caritas
An attempt by Salzburg police to claim saying ‘please, please’ amounted to aggressive begging has failed after four beggars took their case to court and won.

The decision by the court is the latest development in a long-running dispute over a begging ban in the city between authorities, civil society groups and beggars.

The incident took place in March 2015, when the group were fined by police for ‘aggressive begging’.

According to social worker Alina Kugler, from the organisation Phurdo, the beggars had been sitting in the street and saying “Bitte, bitte” (please, please) and “Alles Gute” (all the best).

Now the Regional Administrative Court decided in favour of the beggars, ruling that they do not need to pay the fine. Decisions on four other similar cases are also expected soon, Kugler told Sazlburg Nachrichten.

Salzburg outlawed begging in many areas of the city last June, despite protests from human rights organisations and charities.

The local council is deciding today on proposals to expand the current begging ban to more areas of the city, which aid organisations say could also be opposed by the courts.

Catholic charity Caritas argue that authorities should instead be focusing on providing better sleeping provisions for people.

“The biggest problems are in context of sleeping places in public spaces overnight. Here the political measures have solved nothing,” said Caritas director Johannes Dines.