Around 200 counter-demonstrators disrupted a rally by a group of around 60 fraternities, identities and other people from the right-wing spectrum. Shortly before the performance there was a scuffle between individual counter-demonstrators, Kubitschek and his companions.
The right-wing journalist was originally invited by the Ring of Freedom Students (RFS) to a panel discussion at the university. However, the university prohibited this because it was not announced when registering that Kubitschek was to appear as a speaker. The performance was then moved to public space – namely to the stairs in front of the university.
Police closed the road
The Austrian Students’ Union (ÖH) and other groups then announced protests, and the police initially cordoned off the side lane of the ring in front of the university. The counter-demonstrators had already gathered around an hour and a half before Kubitschek’s planned speech.
There was a brief commotion when Kubitschek – one of the central proponents of the “New Right” in Germany – wanted to enter the venue via the busy ring road. A few counter-demonstrators tried to push Kubitschek back, shouting like “Vienna, Vienna Nazi-free,” and companions and emergency services intervened. There were scuffles, and shortly afterwards the police broke up the meeting and closed the ring for about an hour.
Sellner among the demonstrators
In front of the university, fraternity members and Identitarians – including their former spokesman Martin Sellner – demonstrated for “freedom of expression”. Under a banner with the inscription “Give freedom of thought” people chanted “Freedom of expression is not a crime” and “Our university, our country, youth are resisting” – accompanied by chants of “Alerta, Alerta, Antifascista” from the counter-demonstrators. There was initially one arrest during the rally, which was confirmed by the police upon request.
The newly founded group “Aktion451” was officially invited to the right-wing rally, an allusion to the novel “Fahrenheit 451”, which, among other things, is about independent thinking in an authoritarian society – with “Aktion451” classifying universities as authoritarian , because you weren’t allowed to perform there yourself. Kubitschek also stated that he actually wanted to talk about the novel. “But at universities it’s not about the matter, but about who is allowed to talk and who isn’t.” He therefore called for “reading circles” to be founded at universities that should take up the title of the novel. At the rally it was also announced that we wanted to “fight back for our place at the universities”.
Invitation from the FPÖ
In the evening, Kubitschek is scheduled to appear in the Freedom Party’s club premises at an event that is not open to the media. The Greens and SPÖ protested against this in broadcasts. FPÖ General Secretary Christian Hafenecker, in turn, defended the event. The FPÖ is an open party on a democratic basis. “This also includes letting a wide variety of voices speak and doing everything we can to advocate for free speech and to fight bans on appearances and speeches.”
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