Protest outside the Austrian Embassy
in Washington DC, USA
Support in Washington DC...
and volunteers from the American animal rights organisation FARM held a
protest outside the Austrian Embassy in Washington DC this week. For an
hour activists gathered and marched in front of the Austrian Embassy chanting
messages and carrying large signs reading “Stop Austrian Repression”,
“Activism is NOT a crime”, “Protect Free Speech”
and “Drop all Charges – Shame on Austria!”. During the
demonstration activists approached the embassy to deliver a letter to the
embassy's public information officer, Wolfgang Renezeder. Friendly and understanding,
Mr Renezeder was aware of the worldwide protests and agreed to make sure
that the letter was delivered to the Ministry of Justice in Vienna.
activists said they will continue to take a stand and speak out against
the Austrian government until this injustice is stopped and the charges
have been dropped against the 13 individuals.
in France too
in Paris organised a solidarity gathering where around forty people took
part with signs in different languages and lots of chanting.
criticise the trial
conservative leaning Austrian national newspaper “Die Presse”
this week published a very scathing article covering the trial. Following
the headline “Austria's most bizarre trial” the article referred
to the proceedings as “juristically grotesque” criticising,
amongst other things, the judge's restriction of the defence's questioning.
throws two defendants out of the court room
week the judge saw fit to exclude two of the accused from the days proceedings.
She threw them out of the court room after they had made comments about
the trial being unjust.
disputes broke out this week between the defence and the judge as she continually
interrupted and disallowed their lines of questioning. During renewed questioning
of one of the Kleider Bauer owners the defence attempted to establish from
him whether he knew if profits had fallen during the demonstrations outside
the stores. This is a critical point in terms of the charge because proving
this would indicate that the anti-fur campaign intended to financially ruin
the company. The witness continually evaded the question and was eventually
prevented from having to answer by the judge declaring the question as irrelevant.
When defence produced documents proving that profits had not fallen she
stated that they were not part of the files and were therefore not permissible.
farmer was heard as witness this week. Animals had been liberated from his
farm on several occasions in the 90s. Not only were the defendants either
not yet animal rights active at that time or not in the country, but also
the campaign against this farm at that time was from the animal protection
organisation Four Paws who are not charged in this case.
to an incident where pigs were released from sheds on a pig farm in 2008
the farmer was called as a witness to testify that the defendant suspected
had committed animal cruelty. The farmer claims that several pigs were found
dead and that after the pigs were rounded up and put back in the shed they
became aggressive. The defence produced photos of the dead pigs which not
only clearly showed that the corpses had been decaying for some time but
also that the pigs had died inside the shed. The defence argued that the
pigs had died long before any release took place and also that as the aggression
took place as the pigs were brought back inside, this showed that it was
the farmer himself who was guilty of animal cruelty.
accused of new animal rights offences
judge presented an additional new report from the police which detailed
how someone had left a device in a Kleider Bauer store at the end of March,
after the trial had started, which was meant to trigger the sprinkler systems.
The sprinkler systems were not activated. Police claim in the report that
the defendants are to be seen as suspects because:
It was a Kleider Bauer store
2. It happened after the trial had started
3. It was claimed by the animal liberation front
4. The note claiming responsibility was written in both English and German
5. The content of the note bore resemblance to the content of an interview
given to media by one of the defence lawyers!
should this trial ever end if every new animal rights offence is added to