Anti-fascists protest far-right manifestations in Austrian universities

Hundreds of protesters blocked a lecture by the far-right historian, Lothar Höbelt, at Vienna University on January 14

January 17, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Austria anti-fascists
Students block the lecture of controversial far-right historian, Lothar Höbelt, at the Vienna University.

Various anti-fascist groups in Austria have started campaigns and begun mobilizing to resist the far-right and fascist manifestations in country’s universities. The latest action took place at the University of Vienna on January 14, Tuesday, where 200 anti-fascist activists blocked the entrances to the lecture hall and forced the cancellation of a lecture by the controversial historian, Lothar Höbelt, a staunch advocate of the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ). Activists from the Austrian Students Union (OH) in the Vienna University, Radical Left Platform, Offensive Against the Right-wing, Autonome Antifa, among others, participated in the protests.

DerSatndard reported that left-aligned students had protested against Lothar Höbelt’s lectures in November and December of last year as well. The anti-fascist protests have been continuing in the country under the banner, “No room for Nazis at the University.”

The Communist Youth of Austria (KJO) and the Communist Student Association (KSV) also expressed solidarity and support to the anti-fascist protests at the universities against the far-right.

Autonome Antifa has claimed that far right-wing student groups and organizations regularly attending the lectures of Lothar and have been using the university premises for their racist, anti-Semitic hate-mongering and fascist activities. 

Meanwhile, anti-fascist groups have also given a call for protests on January 24 at the University of Vienna against the conduct of a party – Burschenschafterball, organized by the FPÖ. The FPÖ has lost face following the revelations of the Ibiza Affair and has been trying to revamp its support base through such inflammatory social gatherings around academic institutions. Ibiza affairs of May 2019 revolves around a video secretly recorded in Ibiza, Spain, involving the top leadership of the FPÖ and their corrupt practices. The scandal led to the resignation of FPÖ leadership and the collapse of its coalition with the then ruling Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP).