What the hell is "Opernball" ?

The Opernball is a long traditioned, high society event in the viennese opera in the austrian carneval season. It is a symbol of burgeois prepotence and it is a meeting of the economy`s "who is who".

In 1987 the bavarian prime minister F.J. Strauss who persueded the raising of the nuclear reprocessing station in Wackersdorf came to the Opernball.

For the first time massive riots of some thousand german and austrian autonomous, anti-nuclear, grass root and anarchist protestors took place in Vienna. From this on the anti-Opernball protests became a symbol of "rioter`s violence" and police repression. The fairytale of travelling german autonomous protestors coming to destroy "peaceful" Austria was established. For years, in times of the Openball, all radical political groups have been observed, regulary people were arrested and beaten.

In 1989, after the eviction of a squat, the Opernballdemonstration had the topic: "Eat the rich - Evict the opera, raid the buffet." One year later, in 1990, the police beat thousands of sympatisants and protestors through the city. The aim of the massive violance and physical injury was to threat as many people as possible. In the following years - compared to the ones before - only a few people went out on the streets to demonstrate against the ball of the rich and mighty..

In the year 2000 the anti-fascist street carneval party took place in front of the opera. Thousands of peaceful, creative anti-government protestors reclaimed the streets. Nevertheless 3 people were arrested and beaten severly on their way home, by a new invented under -cover police troop, disguised as demonstrators. ( This police, called the SEK, was originally invented for the biggest racist razzia, called "operation spring", 1999 where twohundred africans were criminalized as drug dealers; for more information look at www.no-racism.net, in a while also available in english.) All were charged and found guilty.

This year blocades of the opera were planned but cancelled after the minister of interior announced massive repression on every kind of blocade. Since 19th of febuary 2000 every thursday a demonstration against the extremly right government marches through the center of the capital.

Opernball also takes place on a thursday. A lot of agent provocateurs were smuggled in the demonstration. Containers were burnt, glasses were broken, police cars were attacked, barricades were built. Riot police in heavy gear with water-cannons attacked the demonstration, beat up everybody they could catch, up to a female teenager on her way home.

Pools of blood decorated the shopping street. The mad rush of the police lasted three hours, where they tried to beat as many demonstrators as possible.

42 people, all under the age of 25, were detained and charged with property demage, breach of the peace, serious physical injury and resistance against the state violence.

41 of them were released in the next three days, two of them could escape remand pending deportation.

One heavily beaten up 21-year-old is still jail. On the 23rd of febuary, at 5 o`clock in the morning police in terror gear with masks and colts in their hands, supported by a new (on 22nd of febuary) legalized raiding party made a house search in the Ernst Kirchweger squat.


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