Climate activists started a demonstration in the city center on Tuesday afternoon as part of the controversial European Gas Conference. According to the organizers, several thousand participants were expected. Activists from abroad must also be present at the protest march. Traffic jams and huge delays in afternoon traffic will probably not be long in coming.
The demo train started at 5:30 PM at Stephansplatz, continues along Rotenturmstraße and ends at Karlsplatz around 8:30 PM. The march goes right past the Marriott Hotel. The police had already announced a parking ban here since Monday morning.
Water cannon placed in front of Marriott Hotel
On Twitter, some users also report water cannons that police placed in front of the Marriott Hotel shortly before the planned demonstration. Large international participation is expected at the demo. The ÖAMTC warned in advance of traffic jams near the demonstration and advised people to use public transport.
Climate activists are calling for an immediate halt to new gas exploration and infrastructure projects. In addition, Europe must become independent of fossil gas by 2035 and depend instead on renewable energy sources, according to a broadcast.
‘The federal government must now act as a pioneer’
According to Greenpeace, the search for fossil gas continues unchecked in Austria as well. Both OMV and the Australian group ADX Energy would like to continue investing in the climate-damaging energy source in Austria. “The Austrian federal government must now act as a pioneer and initiate a law that puts an end to these fossil crimes,” demands Jasmin Duregger, a climate and energy expert at the environmental organization.
Stuck in the driveway
Environmental activists occupied the tracks of OMV Schwechat on Tuesday morning. A few minutes later, another demonstration march to the refinery was started. The tracks were blocked by the activists for more than eleven hours. About 200 people protested outside the refinery, police said. The protest was organized by the international alliance “BlockGas”. The police sprang into action.
“Stop Fossil Crimes”
At the same time, other activists – this time from Greenpeace – hoisted a banner on the facade of the Marriott Hotel in central Vienna that read “End fossil crimes!” The demonstrators had previously rented rooms and abseiled down the facade. During the action, officials negotiated with representatives of the environmental organization. The banner was rolled up again around 10 a.m.
In the morning, international activists also gave a press conference against the conference. Representatives of the international climate protection groups criticized the lobby meeting. The Global North is misusing the African continent as a gas station, said Dean Bhekumuzi Bhebhe of Don’t Gas Africa at the press conference in Vienna. “The gas companies don’t care about our safety, health or well-being,” said a Ukrainian activist.
“Politicians lack the courage to act”
Speaking to the APA, German “Fridays for Future” spokeswoman Luisa Neubauer specifically touched on Austrian politics. Especially in this country, when slopes for ski resorts remain green due to a lack of snow like this year, climate change becomes apparent. But instead of promoting renewable energy, politicians lack the courage to act.
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