A Refugee Protest Camp in Vienna and the European Union’s Processes of Racialization, Seclusion, and Discrimination

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by Marina Gržinić, e-flux journal: http://www.e-flux.com/

Since November 2012, refugees have been protesting in Austria.1 At the center of this protest lies the formation of the Refugee Protest Camp in Vienna, which started with a ten-hour march of approximately a hundred refugees and their supporters. The march, which took place on November 24, 2012, started at the refugee reception center in Traiskirchen and ended at the Vienna city center—a distance of around twenty kilometers. The march resulted in the erection of the Refugee Protest Camp, which included tents, a kitchen, and activities in Sigmund Freud Park, in front of the Votive Church in the center of Vienna. This camp was cleared by police on December 28, 2012. After negotiating with personnel from the Votive Church, the refugees entered the church itself. They decided to “camp” in the freezing cold church building (while at the same time being monitored and controlled by Caritas, a Catholic Church charity relief organization). As nothing was offered to them by that point—no answer from the authorities regarding their demands—a group of refugees went on a hunger strike.