Photo: Jacqueline Braendli
While tuition fees in the UK could possibly be raised even more after the next general election, students in Austria are occupying their universities to fight for free education.
Two weeks after the start of the occupations, the largest Austrian universities are still occupied by students. On Thursday (5.11.2009), a national “day of action” was organised. In the capital, the demonstrations united between 20.000 (organisers) and 7000 (police) people on the streets. On Friday, the plenum of the occupied main lecture theatre (Audimax) at the University of Vienna, debated the movement’s communication with the media. A group of activists works on press communication issues (e.g. invitations / demands to film the plenum by various Austrian TV channels) which are then put to the vote in the plenum. The students still refuse to elect permanent speakers. They are also still waiting for the conservative Austrian Minister for Education, Johannes Hahn, to come to the plenum to discuss their demands. Next Thursday (12.11.2009) the students are demonstrating together with the steel workers, whose union is currently negotiating the collective contracts for next year.