On his visit to Austria, US President George Bush faced massive protests from Austrians in Vienna as they condemned the Middle East policies of the US administration in Iraq as well as Palestine.
A series of protests began on the 19th of June with a demonstration against the Apartheid Wall. In Stephansplatz, in the centre of the Austrian capital, activists built a mock Wall and also held a theatrical stunt to expose the situation of prisoners held captive in Guantanamo Bay. Onlookers had a chance to consider the daily aggression of the United States and the unconditional backing it provides for the Zionist regime and forces other states to provide.
A press release of one solidarity group stated that: âIn Palestine the system shows its perversion. A whole people are denied self-determination; they are expelled (but nobody talked about ethnic cleansing), they are crammed in ghettos. The genocide of the Palestinian people is justified by the genocide of the Jews, which has not been committed by the Palestinians. In both cases, the perpetrators are the West and its elites, that pretend to make up for their past colonial crimes in a ruthless way by committing and supporting new ones.â
During the closing demonstration in the town centre, Muslim, Christian and Jewish religious authorities read out a petition demanding an end to Austrian and European support for War and Occupation implemented by the US and Israel. They asked for adherence to the status of âneutralityâ as written down in the Austrian constitution. The petition was later handed over to the Prime Minister ands the Foreign Minister of Austria.
The various protests drew tens of thousands of people into the streets. Spontaneous support shown by onlookers and citizens of Vienna suggested that the wider Austrian public are aware of the crimes committed with the complicity of their government and the money of their taxes. Organizers noted that when a US president last came to Vienna, 27 years ago, people greeted him with stars and stripes. This time, the placards, chants and banners proclaimed: âBush go home!â