One of the targets was the office of Austria's most successful animal rights group Verein gegen Tierfabriken (VGT).
As many as fourteen persons remained locked up.
The police justified the raids by saying the activists were members of a criminal organization. Specific charges are still unclear.
The blog My Own Private Emocide says it’s rumored that there are 30+ charges being prepared, which are most likely connected to the yearlong protests against the big clothing chain “Kleiderbauer.” There was a single illegal attack on one of their stores It is unknown who is responsible for this attack. Other than that, there have only been legal demonstrations on a weekly basis in front of multiple stores all over Austria. These protests have repeatedly been attacked verbally and physically by Kleiderbauer staff.
Harald Balluch of VGT-Austria speaking out against the raids warned, "Animal welfare will be criminalized...(the) allegations are absolutely plucked from the air. The VGT rejects criminal acts and violence and (has) distanced itself from all (such) offences. "
An ad hoc protest march of several hundred took place yesterday evening which ended at a police station where some of those arrested were held.
A press release printed on Austrian IndyMedia says,
"Solidarity with the wave of arrests ... is needed. No matter whether you are vegan, feminist, antifascist, against monitoring, nuclear power or police brutality -we are all meant (to be intimidated), even though currently only a few have been taken!"
People in prison need our support and solidarity."
The following is taken from Infoshop News.
Dawn raids against anti-fur activists in Austria
Thursday, May 22 2008
Starting at 6:00 a.m. today, houses, flats and storerooms belonging to animal rights activists were raided and the inhabitants arrested all across Austria. In several cases activists were woken by armed police and brutally handcuffed. They could only look on helplessly as their homes and possessions were ransacked by police.
Doors were kicked in by balaclava-wearing armed special units of police (WEG), who treated the activists as if they were dangerous terrorists. 14 people were arrested and are on remand. They've been charged with 31 different offences related to the campaign against the the fur-promoting fashion company Kleider Bauer, but most significantly of forming a criminal organisation under §278a of Austrian law.
Kleider Bauer is renowned for trying to silence its opponents through court order and restricting their rights to demonstrate. For almost 2 years now regular demonstrations have taken place outside various branches of the firm in the main cities in Austria. Of course, those arrested are among some of the most active in the campaign.
Solidarity with those arrested in Austria!
Abolish the fur trade!