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Solidarity Protest for Martin Balluch and Austrian Activists

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Published on Jun 4, 2008

In solidarity with the 10 animal rights activists in Austria who have been rounded up and jailed without even being charged, NYC activists staged a protest at the Austrian consulate today.

Dr. Martin Balluch, Austrian activist and head of Verein Gegen Tierfabriken (Association Against Animal Factories) has been on a hunger strike since his arrest (this is day 15) and the Austrian government is planning on hospitalizing him and force feeding him on Friday.

A message to the Austrian Government: The animal rights community demands the release of our activist comrades!

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On May 21st special forces of the Austrian police forced entry to 23 homes of animal right activists across Austria. 14 persons were charged with suspectedforming of a criminal organisation (§278a of the Austrian penal code) in connection with direct animal right actions. Ten persons were arrested and are in prison as suspects. At first nine were sent to the Vienna Neustadt prison and one to Innsbruck who has been brought to Vienna Neustadt on 28.05. Fiveprisoners are in hungerstrike at the moment, at least one since the 21.05. (date today: 29.05.). The organisation die tierbefreier e.V. is also affected by this wave of repression.

The way searching was done is indescribable. The homes and apartments were entered with pulled weapons; doors were smashed, despite tenants inside, sleeping. A complete chaos was left, PCs, files and other papers confiscated. No evidence of any criminal offence could be proved against the 14 persons; they were arrested purely on suspicion. Apparently only being engaged in animal right activities for some years was enough reason to arrest them.

Since the files handed to the lawyers could not prove any criminal offence, application for immediate release was filed. Imposing remand under these circumstances is absolutely against human rights.

One of the prisoners, Dr Martin Balluch, who is the President of the Austrian Association Against Animal Factories, has been on hunger strike for thirteen days now....the situation has become critical and they need your support.

Please contact the Austrian authorities requesting that they take immediate action to prevent this ongoing, and unlawful, repression of a legtimate animal rights campaign!

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