Climate activists occupy lecture halls in multiple Austrian cities

Climate activists occupy lecture halls in multiple Austrian cities |

Student activists have occupied university lecture halls in Vienna, Salzburg, and Innsbruck amid rising discontent with the government’s handling of the climate crisis, the education system, and social injustice.

Student protests – particularly the occupation of universities – are common in Austria, particularly in 2009 and 2010 protests against education sector reforms – their protest chant “Audimaximus” was chosen as the word of the year in 2009.

“The protests are directed against the multiple crises of our time, which are all interrelated and at the forefront of which is the climate crisis,” explained Keya Baier, board member of the Austria-wide student association ÖH, in solidarity on Wednesday.

Tens of students slept on campus in Vienna, 25 in Salzburg, and 40 students occupied a lecture hall in Innsbruck.

“We are students – our space of action is the university,” one activist told Der Standard. “This is the space where it is possible for us to lead the protest.”

According to the protesters, universities have a special obligation to help tackle the crises society faces – whether it be the climate crisis or inflation. They must “specifically promote research that addresses the major problems of our time and provides solutions to these crises,” explained ÖH board member Boryana Badinska.

The far-right is decidedly unhappy with the protests. “Preventing others from studying is not a form of solidarity,” explained Vienna’s far-right FPÖ, calling for the students to be removed.

(Nikolaus J. Kurmayer |


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