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Police attacked as they try to close down illegal rave

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Photo: Paul Gillingwater
12:07 CET+01:00
Six police officers were injured when they tried to shut down an illegal rave in Vienna's Simmering district.

Police were forced to use pepper spray and batons to prevent a full-scale riot breaking out and it was only when a WEGA SWAT police team arrived that the situation was brought under control.

600 people gathered for a spontaneous rave on Saturday night at the abandoned Steyr tank factory on Haidestraße. The location was only announced via social networks. Police were called to the building at around 1.15am when locals complained about the noise. When officers arrived they found 200 people standing outside the building and another 400 partying inside.

"When we asked the revellers to leave the area some of the crowd started to become aggressive towards the police and fights broke out", police spokesman Paul Eidenberger said. He added that the ravers did not have permission to use the building, and that “the venue was absolutely unsuitable for so many people. It was dark, with narrow passageways, and meant many people risked injury and panic."

Some of the ravers then barricaded the building’s exit, and hundreds of people were trapped in the factory building’s unlit cellar. The police were then subjected to a barrage of glass bottles, stones and even fire-extinguishers. Four police officers were injured by a corrosive liquid and two officers were bruised as they moved people out of the building. Police had to call in backup, and a total of 80 police officers were in action.

Special forces WEGA officers were able to get into the building through a side entrance, and illuminate the cellar. Police dogs were used to keep the crowd out in the factory yard under control, and officers had to communicate using megaphones. The situation was not brought under control until 4.30am.

Two men were arrested and police found cocaine, marijuana and other drugs at the scene. Police commander Manfred Ihle said they were lucky that everything went relatively smoothly as the situation could have quickly escalated. Police intend to bring charges against the organisers of the illegal rave.

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