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[austria] international statement of solidarity with protest of migrants and asylum seekers

International Statement of Solidarity 'We demand our rights' All our support and solidarity to the protest of migrants and asylum seekers in Vienna! 

The protest camp set up by asylumseekers in Vienna has been brutally
evicted last night. It is part of a growing European movement of migrant
struggles, that has recently seen similar protests in Berlin, Amsterdam
and Calais, as well as Lesvos, Budapest and other places. They contest
authoriatrian border regimes and the migration policies of the EU and 
its member states.

Please spread this call via your lists and blogs, and email
refugeeprotestvienna-solidarity (at) to sign the statement
(Subject: Solidarity Vienna)!

The protest camp 
On the 24th of November 2012, hundreds of migrants seeking asylum in
Austria marched from the isolated and overcrowded government camp storing
them to set up a protest camp in Vienna along with Austrian supporters.
Their demands are: the right to work and stay in this prosperous European
country, as qualified legal support and translation. Building their own
and self-sustained protest camp, the protesters have created a vibrant
space of participatory democracy, solidarity and mutual aid; an inspiring
constituent process. They have shown what a truly open and cosmopolitan
Europe might look like.

The church occupation 
On the 18th of December, after weeks of building a strong movement and
camp, and after weeks of being ignored by the government, they decided to
move into the church that borders on the protest camp. When the
asylumseekers sought refuge in the church the government could no longer
ignore them. However, while the government has acknowledged the legitimacy
of their demands, the talks have been fruitless as the government refused
to take the necessary action to improve the situation.

The hunger strike

The days of Christmas, which so festively celebrate that Joseph and Maria
found asylum in Bethlehem, have been a cold and inhospitable time for the
protesters. As politicians joined their families, leaving the refugees
with little more than vague promises of more talks, the refugees saw
little other option but to enter into hunger strike.

Meanwhile, migrants have come to Vienna from all over the country, to join
this protest and affirm the importance of another kind of politics of
migration and asylum. Their demands have been echoed and supported: we
have heard the director of Caritas as well of different union leaders
affirm the importance of giving migrants the right to work as they seek

The eviction 
Today, on the 28th of December, in the dark of the night, a large number
of police violently evicted the camp. The frame of the democracy and
community that has been built up in the cold winter month running up to
Christmas was razed to the ground within few hours.

The politicians in charge have not only broken the talks, but chosen to
penalize the act of protesting against the inhuman conditions that asylum
seekers have to tolerate in Austria. Police registered the identity of
everyone at the camp; people who were inside tents had to stand up in
front of the tents, were photographed and filmed from all sides in most
humiliating ways. The police now presses charges against 24, and two are
said to be arrested because of lack of residence permit.

But people are determined to continue the struggle, with the church
filling with ever more refugees and transmigrants every day - even if the
support of the church and Caritas is very reluctant, at times blocking
access to the church. Freedom of movement and protest are human rights ?
we support the important cause of migrant struggles and the brave acts of
civil disobedience in Vienna and everywhere in Europe!

We demand that the Austrian Government

guarantees the right to protest, also for non-Austrian citizens; 
stops any ongoing legal actions against people exercising their 
right to protest; stops all racist policing resumes the negotiations 
with the asylumseekers, which this violent eviction was so clearly 
designed to interrupt.

We repeat and stand fully behind the asylumseekers' demands: 
1) Grundversorgung (basic support) for all asylumseekers, as long as 
they reside in Austria, irrespective of their legal status;

2) Free choice of their location of residence in Austria, and access 
to public housing for all asylum seekers residing in Austria - 
no transfers against the wishes of the people concerned;

3) Access to employment, educational institutions and social security 
for all migrants residing in Austria;

4) Stop all deportations to Hungary ? stop all deportations associated 
with the Dublin Regulation 2;

5) Establishment of an independent authority for substantive review 
and appeal of all negative replies to asylum applications;

6) Recognition of socio-economic motives in addition to the previously 
recognized escape reasons

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