Vienna. Austria. 05 April. 2022. Eviction of the occupied construction site is imminent so that the fields of Hirschstetten can be sealed. At the same time, public transport operator “Wiener Linien” suspends bus lines to prevent people from expressing solidarity.
Translated by Riot Turtle.
Vienna Donaustadt (Danube City), 5.4. – Numerous police officers have just kettled the occupation of the construction site against the planned city highway at Hirschstettnerstrasse 44. The occupation has existed for seven months. Numerous people who do not want to voluntarily leave the site of peaceful protest to excavators and bulldozers are to be taken out of their huts and tents in the coming hours.
Mayor Ludwig wants to create facts on the ground with the construction of the city highway in order to eventually push through the Lobau Tunnel. In times of fossil war and climate crisis, this would be a fatal step in the wrong direction.
“It’s unbelievable: the climate crisis is advancing, forests are burning in the Alps, and the number of people who don’t have enough food is rising rapidly. The war in Ukraine clearly shows us what terrible consequences the dependency on fossil energies has for peace and stability. Instead of a determined phase-out of fossil energy, which science has long been calling for, our politicians want to continue building highways and sealing valuable agricultural land. And yet it is more clear than ever: What we need now is a bold transformation in transportation and energy instead of climate-damaging projects from the last century. Every single step counts – cancel the city highway at last, Mr. Mayor!”, says Lucia Steinwender, spokeswoman for LobauBleibt.
“This occupation was much more than only resistance against the city highway, but also raised the question of fair distribution of space in the city. Occupations are always places for alternative ways of life that go beyond capitalist logic. Do we create space for highways or for culture, communal gardening, debates and coming together? Space for the car lobby or for people? With this eviction, the city of Vienna once again shows which side it is on when it comes to this question,” says Julia, who lives in and helped forming the site of the protest.
A total of several hundred people have defied wind and weather for months and persevered at the construction site despite an arson attack. In February, the occupation in Hausfeldstraße was evicted, and now the one in Hirschstettner Straße is also to make way for the planned highway.
However Lobau Stays shows itself combative: “We will come back. Only [yesterday], the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) urgently warned in their latest report that we have to act now to prevent the climate catastrophe – and that it is solely a question of political will whether we can achieve it or not. As long as the Vienna city government fails to understand this, we will stand in the way of their destructive concrete projects,” says Anna Kontriner, spokesperson for Lobau Stays, “Resistance to the city highway will continue.”
At 7 p.m. (19:00), Fridays For Future will organize a rally in front of the SPÖ (Social Democratic Party of Austria) headquarters in Löwelstraße to bring the protest against the eviction and the construction of the highway to the center of the city as well.
Furthermore protests are announced to the national party conference of the SPÖ Vienna on May 28 “We will set a strong sign on May 28 against the fossil politics of the city government of Vienna, which destroys our livelihood”, Lucia Steinwender concludes.