From Vienna: To Russia With Love

Vienna To Russia

 

An eclectic group of protesters – transgender, gay and straight – took advantage of Russian President, Vladimir Putin’s brief visit to Vienna on Tuesday afternoon to demonstrate against Russia’s harsh anti-gay propaganda laws.

Vienna on the March, Gaily

I’m probably glad I missed this event in Vienna, not being a huge fan of huge crowds.  We left on Tuesday the 10th. just in time for the festivities to begin.

Vienna-Gay-Pride-2012-1

More than 150,000 people took part in the 18th edition of the Vienna gay pride parade this weekend.

The organiser Christian Högl of the Vienna homosexual initiative (HOSI) said this edition of the parade which saw masses of people travel around Vienna’s Ring road was one of the most successful to date.

The parade was lead by the Pride Boys and Pride Girls, followed by a mixture of trucks, motorbikes and various pedestrian groups.

The costumes this year included everything from naked skin to overall latex-costumes from queens and angels. Rainbow body paint was also very popular this year.

Even in the party atmosphere and the sunshine, participants made very clear they were protesting against discrimination against homosexual and transgender individuals under the motto “United in Pride”.

There were divided opinions amongst the spectators along the Ring. One woman said: “I came by chance. I actually wanted to go to the museum. I just don’t understand their requests.”

A Swiss tourist on the other hand said: “I am enjoying the day.”

Vienna Times

But all was not gay. In fact a lesbian Member of the European Parliament in attendance was attacked with a stinking but not corrosive acid.

Austria’s Green MEP Ulrike Lunacek has spoken of her disappointment following a butyric acid attack on her at Vienna’s gay pride on Saturday. Vienna Times

Vienna Massive Police Presence

We landed in Vienna today and during our first walk around the massive Stephanplatz walking area noticed a few police vans, then a few more, then dozens.  We walked towards the even more massive Heidenplatz to see more and more vans, in caravans or arrayed along streets, each filled with 6 police in complete armor, from boot shields to hard helmets.  WTF?

Crowds of strollers hardly seemed to notice.  Was such an event normal or is it protective coloration not to stare at police?  A few we asked had no more idea than we did.  Was a head of state arriving?  A helicopter hovered, its sharp, irritating hum filling every street.

Vienna Police

It turns out a demonstration of right-wing fraternities had been promised, and along with it, counter demonstrations from the left.

A group of Austrian right-wing student fraternities known as the Burschenschaften will be marching in Vienna today. Several counter demonstrations are planned, and police are urging restraint.

According to a report in the Heute newspaper, 500 members of the academic Burschenschaften of the Wiener Korporationsring (WKR) have registered with police to march a planned route on Wednesday, starting at 5pm at Josephsplatz.

The Local – Austria’s News in English