Climate activists disrupted the European Gas Conference (EGC) in Vienna on Monday, staging a protest and blocking the ring road near the conference hotel. The protesters aimed to draw attention to the role of gas in contributing to climate change. The police were present in large numbers to contain the demonstration, and some protesters criticized the police’s response, including the use of pepper spray and alleged instances of police violence.
According to police spokeswoman Barbara Gass, the activists on the Ringstrasse were eventually allowed to march towards Karlsplatz after being surrounded and subjected to identity checks. Two groups of activists were surrounded by barriers and numerous officials, and stones were found in their tents.
The boiler in Johannesgasse was cleared by the police, and two officers were slightly injured by resisting state authority. The service dog squadron and the special unit Wega were deployed by the police to handle the situation.
The human rights organization Amnesty Austria expressed concerns about the police’s response to the demonstration, particularly the criminalization of peaceful protests. The conference hotel had been sealed off by the police in advance of the protest, and the police issued a ban on parking on the ring road in the morning.
Several hundred police officers were on duty, not only near the conference venue but also in other parts of the city. The EGC is seen by climate activists as promoting gas, which is considered a contributor to climate change. The protesters’ tents were cleared by the police, and the stones found were secured by the authorities.
The protest disrupted the EGC in Vienna, with climate activists criticizing the role of gas in climate change and protesting the conference’s focus on the subject. The police were present in large numbers and subjected the protesters to identity checks, using pepper spray against them. The human rights organization Amnesty Austria criticized the police’s action and expressed concerns about the criminalization of peaceful protests.