Student protest

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The student protest is a collective term for student protests, often in the form of demonstrations , occupations and student strikes or boycotts fees, which are performed by students. The reasons for student protests can be varied, often to point out poor study conditions ( educational disadvantage / educational policy ). Political protests at universities and student movements were often the starting point for popular uprisings and mass demonstrations.

Student protests in Germany are usually organized across faculties by the student council / AStA , but the university management only sometimes provides support. Protest actions often last for days or weeks in order to emphasize the demands. In many countries in Germany and other European countries, the main focus is currently on protests against university reforms such as the Bologna Process and tuition fees .

Demonstration in Erlangen in April 2005


The protests of the 1968 movement were originally and mainly global student protests. Students around the world were politically active. In Mexico there was the Tlatelolco massacre of demonstrating students. In 1969 Franco declared a state of emergency because of student protests.


Protests against National Socialism

There were individual protests by students against National Socialism, especially by left and conservative students. In June 1934 there were clashes - called Göttingen riots - between Göttingen fraternity students and members of the National Socialist German Student Union (NSDStB), which were sparked off by the fact that the fraternity students wore hats and ribbons in public despite the ban.

In May 1935, members of the Corps Saxo-Borussia Heidelberg disrupted the transmission of a Hitler speech in a Heidelberg student bar by loud yelling, telling each other in an overly loud tone Hitler jokes and blowing melodies on an empty champagne bottle to which they sang songs of derision about the National Socialists. The next day, numerous complaints prompted the corps to apologize to the rector of the university. A few days later, however, members of the same corps talked loudly over an asparagus dinner in the Heidelberg restaurant “Hirschgasse” about whether “the Führer was eating asparagus with a knife, fork or paw” and in general according to the comments; Finally, the students in the corps agreed that Hitler had “such a big mouth that he could eat the asparagus crosswise” (the so-called Heidelberger Spargelessen ) . Immediately after the events, the Corps Saxo-Borussia was banned, the corps students involved were expelled from the university, the senior Henning v. Quast was even temporarily arrested.

May 1968

After the assassination attempt on the student leader Rudi Dutschke , the most serious riots broke out. The protests of the students were initially directed against poor study conditions, later mainly against political and social conditions. The movement saw itself as part of the extra-parliamentary opposition to the grand coalition of the Union and the SPD, which had ruled since 1966.

"Replacement money fight" 1976

The cause of the so-called "replacement money fight" was that some federal states wanted to introduce tuition fees (including Baden-Württemberg), initially only for natural science courses. The natural scientists should pay the "additional costs" of their courses (through laboratory material etc.) themselves. A boycott of feedback (i.e. nobody came back) and strikes prevented these plans.

"Professional ban strike" 1976/77

Banners at the Hochschule der Künste (HdK) in January 1977 in Berlin

On November 24th, 1976, a Uni-VV called at short notice by the Germanists took place in the Audimax of the Free University of Berlin (FU), which was completely overcrowded with 4,000 participants. In the department of German studies, two lecturers were threatened with suspension due to the radical decree. The assembly recommended a university-wide, active solidarity strike, which was partly implemented immediately and partly resolved by means of strike votes at the institutes. In a short time, the universities of applied sciences, the schools of the second educational path and finally the Technical University of Berlin (TU) followed the call to strike. The seminars were dissolved and replaced by working groups, study collectives and our own events. The demands were directed primarily against the amendment of the University Framework Act [HRG] and against heavily regulated study conditions, but the real driving force was the displeasure with the "professional bans" and the associated "snooping on convictions", a term coined by Herbert Wehner . The prohibitions strike that surprised the policies that governments and the public, was carried by the unorganized students' that resulting from the internally '68 movement coming and until then dominant Maoist K groups neutralized and the DDR-oriented student organizations. A basic democratic council structure was set up, the highest organ in Berlin of which was the Regional Strike Council (RSR). There was soon speculation in the media about a 'new student movement'. In December 1976 it was decided to replace the AStA, which had been abolished at the FU in 1969, by an independent student body, the USTA.

Event on strike targets in the TU Audimax on January 11, 1977

The strike was jointly suspended over the Christmas break and then resumed in January 1977 - as the students' demands had not been met, as expected. Now numerous universities and (technical) colleges in the Federal Republic of Germany have joined. On January 25, 1977 the “1.frauen-uni-VV” took place in the Audimax of the FU. Successes such as the withdrawal of the dismissals of the two German language lecturers and the increase in the BAföG rate were recorded. Curiously, the changes in the HRG failed because of the disagreement between the political parties in the Senate. At the end of January 1977, activities subsided and the strike ended. In the summer semester of 1977 it was largely possible to expand the structures of the working groups and the now also politically organized departmental initiatives and grassroots groups. The strike was resumed in the 1977/78 winter semester, but it was replaced by a new development: A large number of the estimated 40,000 students who were continuously active in the strike recognized the threat of isolation if university involvement was continued and strengthened the trend that began around this time Project start-ups in town and country. Many of the 15,000 participants met again at the end of January 1978 at the meeting in Tunix , which focused on this development and was later considered to be the "hour of birth" of the alternative movement.

“UniMut” strike in 1988/89

The so-called "UniMut" strike, which started at the Free University of Berlin and extended nationwide (initially primarily Hesse, then the whole of Germany). After 1976/77 first large series of occupations of institutes and university buildings. The FU Berlin is administered by "occupation councils" for almost a whole semester (until February 25, 1989) and becomes a so-called "Liberated University". Numerous institutes have been given new names. In Frankfurt / Main the situation is characterized by "newly created forms of self-organization such as action committees, central student councils, and general assemblies". The consequences were the introduction of student-administered project tutorials until 2002 and the introduction of a reform course in human medicine.


In 1993 the first strike took place against the introduction of the nationwide long-term study fee. It was only carried out as a warning strike in most universities; H. three days strike with teach-ins etc.

The first largest student protests in Germany after the 1968 movement and the 1976/77 professional ban strike took place during the student strike in 1997 . At that time, starting at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen , there were university strikes at many universities from Kiel to Konstanz under the motto "Lucky Strike" and the like. The reasons for the strike were the low financial resources of the universities, overcrowded events, etc.

"Spar Wars" 2003

In 2003, the motto Spar Wars in particular was often used in Germany , but there is no overarching leitmotif, as effective campaigns are usually carried out with a local or regional character. In December 2003 demonstrations were held simultaneously in Berlin , Leipzig and Frankfurt am Main , which marked the beginning of a wave of protest actions. Strikes were also launched in Weimar , Bonn , Munich , Dresden , Göttingen and other cities. Strikes took place throughout Lower Saxony, Hesse, Hamburg, Bremen and Berlin in the 2003/2004 winter semester. The protests were about the prevention of cuts in education and social services across Germany and the introduction of student accounts and tuition fees .

After initially referring to the pure savings and "reforms" such as BA / MA in the education sector, it quickly expanded to include other social protests, such as B. the introduction of Hartz IV . At least in Berlin, the planned introduction of student accounts and fees for the 2004/2005 winter semester can be prevented. After weeks of student interventions at PDS meetings, three quarters of all delegates at the Berlin PDS party congress voted against the study account model of their science senator, who then abandoned the introduction for the rest of the legislature (until October 2006). The Berlin universities had to make the total savings of 75 million euros by 2009 without compromising.

Protest actions in 2005

Demo in Dresden

In May 2005 there were nationwide protests (Summer of Resistance) against the commodification of education because of the planned tuition fees . In Freiburg im Breisgau the rectorate is occupied by students for 13 days. In Hamburg , students organize various protests, the general assembly of students at the University of Hamburg is 94% against tuition fees from over 10,000 votes. The CDU Senate then had the protests violently broken up by the police several times.

There are also campaigns in Cologne, Kiel, Oldenburg, Stuttgart, Munich, Freiburg and other cities (documentation on Indymedia ). Students at the University of Stuttgart went on strike from May 2nd to 4th and ended the strike on May 4th with a 4,000-strong demonstration. Since then, the protest has continued among other actions in the form of a university flat share in a central university building. On May 24th and 25th, students will occupy the rectorates of the universities in Hamburg , Bremen , Hildesheim , Göttingen , Braunschweig and Lüneburg . In June the campaigns will continue nationwide, with rallies and campus camps in various cities . Parallel to the nationwide demonstration against tuition fees in Essen, students will occupy the rector's offices on the Duisburg and Essen campuses on June 23 . The protest is directed against the planned introduction of tuition fees at the University of Duisburg-Essen. At the end of 2005 there were again violent protests in Stuttgart with two large demonstrations, each parallel to the readings of the Tuition Fee Act in the state parliament, with participation between 5000 and 10,000 people.

As a result, fee plans are in some cases postponed or newly discussed, and numerous universities complain that politicians are blaming the decision on tuition fees while the financing models are still unclear. However, student initiatives also intervene in the election campaigns of parties promoting tuition fees. In the 2005 election , according to polls was education (besides unemployment ) one of the defining issues.


End of 2005, the Schleswig-Holstein business and science minister called Dietrich Austermann ( CDU ) in a framework paper for a new Higher Education Act , the introduction of tuition fees , a presidential constitution instead of the previous Rector Constitution and the merger of three of Schleswig-Holstein Universities Lübeck , Flensburg and Kiel to State University. For the students in Schleswig-Holstein , the presidential constitution meant the loss of their say, as the consistory , which consisted of one third of students and from which the rector is elected, will be deleted. In the future, a university council consisting of leading personalities from business and culture should elect the president . This key issues paper triggered a wave of protests at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel . After a general assembly on January 18, 2006, a small group of students who described themselves as university sleepers occupied the Rector's high-rise and demanded a clear statement from the Rectorate on the plans presented by Austermann. Further actions followed the occupation.

The visit of the UN education commissioner Vernor Muñoz in February, who examined and criticized equal opportunities in Germany, gave the students new impetus: Munoz expressly describes education as a human right and not an economic good. In Germany, like hardly any other in developed countries, good education is linked to social background. Munoz also criticized federalism in education policy.

In mid-May there were protests in Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia, where the university senates should now decide individually on tuition fees: Rectorates in Cologne, Duisburg, Siegen, Paderborn (for the second time this year) were occupied, a meeting in Cologne, where the FDP headquarters is also occupied and evacuated with a large police presence. In Marburg there was a demonstration of 4,000 students who then occupied the city motorway for an hour, there were also other demonstrations in Frankfurt, Bonn and Bochum.

On May 31, tuition fee laws were discussed or passed in several state parliaments. It came u. a. on actions and demonstrations in Bonn, Siegen, Frankfurt, Gießen, Wuppertal and Hamburg. In Berlin, students briefly occupied the Hamburg state representation in protest. About 800 students demonstrated in Hamburg, some students occupied the track system. In the citizenry, students tried to disrupt the session with the poem "It's all quiet" by Heinrich Heine . There was a tumult, five students were arrested and after being searched. Some students are sent to a prison built for hooligans at the 2006 World Cup.

On June 15, the “Berlin Alliance for Free Education - against tuition fees” was founded . The background was the expected tuition fees. More than 50 groups and numerous individuals are currently involved in the alliance. On July 6, after a peaceful demonstration with a few thousand participants in Frankfurt, a motorway slip road was occupied, as a result of which 231 demonstrators were arrested.


Shortly before the state elections in Lower Saxony and Hesse, the action alliance against tuition fees organized demonstrations against tuition fees together with the state branches, students, pupils and the unions. On January 25th, around 1500 people took part in Hanover. The demonstration was peaceful. Shortly before the end of the demonstration route, several hundred students and schoolchildren violated the ban mile of the Lower Saxony state parliament and held a rally in front of it for over an hour. The parliamentarians then locked themselves in the state parliament. On January 26th, around 1000 people took part in Frankfurt. The police declared the demonstration to have ended prematurely when some demonstrators refused to stick to the demonstration route. As a result, the demonstration broke up into many smaller groups and property damage occurred. The police surrounded various groups, used batons and temporarily arrested over 200 participants.

Since the effects of the so-called Bologna Process became noticeable, student protests against the Bologna reforms have taken place at some universities . For example, on November 25, 2008, at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, a protest was made against the Bachelor's study conditions and demanded that the systematic incapacitation of students should be ended. It must be "an end to the systematic destruction of the universities!"

In Trier , too , more than 600 students protested on November 13, 2008 against the Bologna reforms. The introduction of modularized courses of study was described as a "broken neck for the university system" and criticized that the "motto today is equalization, mass processing and orientation of education to the interests of the economy ". Similar protests also took place at the Free University of Berlin .


Occupation of the Humboldt University in Berlin , November 2009

In 2009 a nationwide education strike took place. On the occasion of the global economic crisis and the upcoming federal election, a broad alliance of schoolchildren, students and trainees was formed across Germany. Preparatory action groups were organized at many German universities. One of the first public actions of the alliance was the participation in the demonstration “We do not pay for your crisis” on March 28th, 2009 in Berlin, which advocated a permanent redistribution of the government against the handling of the financial crisis . As part of a supraregional coordination meeting at the Technical University of Berlin , hundreds of students willing to strike were in the city who, together with schoolchildren, organized an "educational block" for the demonstration. The Education and Science Union (GEW) supported the call for an education strike in a resolution passed on April 27, 2009. On May 27, 2009, Chancellor Angela Merkel had to interrupt a speech at the Humboldt University in Berlin for minutes due to student protests . Among other things, banners called for the abolition of tuition fees . On Monday, June 15, 2009, the central strike week began with symbolic occupations and spontaneous demonstrations in several German university locations. On June 17, 2009, the day of the strike week's demonstration, around 230,000 young people took to the streets across Germany. However, the occupation of several lecture halls at Austrian universities in October 2009 provided a major new protest impulse. This led to solidarity campaigns at many universities in German-speaking countries. In several German universities, lecture halls were occupied by students. The student movement, referred to by the media as generation 09 , thus achieved broad media attention and brought the Austrian Science Minister, EU Commissioner Dr. Johannes Hahn (ÖVP) over a motion of censure demanded by the Greens under parliamentary pressure.


Student protests began again in November 2011. Demonstrations took place in several German cities. There were occupations in Berlin and Regensburg . Compared to the education strike in 2009, however, the protest was cautious. At the Free University of Berlin, the occupation was ended after a short time by the intervention of the police.


Nationwide riots in 2006

Protest against the CPE: Blockade of the Paris Jussieu university campus

In France , in February and March 2006, there were cross-border protests against a new special labor law for young professionals ( Contrat première embauche ). On the night of March 10th to 11th, the Sorbonne , which was occupied by protesters, was evacuated by CRS units using tear gas and baton. The Paris mayor had previously expressed concern about the police's “rigid approach”. Some observers also drew parallels with the May riots of 1968. On the night of March 15, after a march on the Sorbonne, violent clashes broke out again, in which at least nine demonstrators were arrested and at least nine officers were injured. On the night of March 17th, the student protests broadened again. After an initially peaceful march from Place d'Italie to Sèvres-Babylone, riots broke out between the autonomists and the police, and a newspaper stand was burned down. Demonstrators later gathered again in front of the Sorbonne and demanded the withdrawal of the police, who kept the main building and the surrounding area cordoned off. During riots on the Place de la Sorbonne, several shops and bars were devastated and a bookstore was set on fire, whereupon the police evacuated the entire area between Sorbonne, Odéon and St. Michel. A number of rioters who had taken part in the devastation or who later destroyed cars and window panes in small groups were arrested. According to the police, these were not “students” but “autonomous rioters”. However, it raised the question of whether militant actors could not also be students; 92 police officers and 18 demonstrators were injured and 187 protesters arrested.

Barriers at the Place de la Sorbonne
Riots Place de la Nation

On Saturday, March 18, between 500,000 and 1.5 million people took to the streets in France. What was special about this was that for the first time otherwise hostile unions demonstrated with one another. In Paris alone, between 80,000 and 350,000 people took part in a demonstration from Denfert-Rochereau to the Place de la Nation. On that day, too, there were serious clashes with the police. At first, the Paris event went off peacefully, until at the end of the event on the sidelines of the demonstration a car was set on fire and the windows of two shops were broken. Although the situation initially calmed down, the police decided to break up the demonstration by force, injuring bystanders. The angry crowd was driven from the square into back streets, where protesters erected burning barricades, set other cars on fire and destroyed numerous shops. Later, the focus shifted back to the Latin Quarter , where the police forcibly break up a sit-in of around 500 students demanding the clearance of the Sorbonne. Later there were riots again, in which the barriers around the Sorbonne were partially torn down.

The police also came under fire during these days for allowing neo-Nazis to the Sorbonne, where these leftists attacked with baseball bats, among other things.


Student protests at the University of Vienna, October 2009
Occupied auditorium maximum Vienna, October 2009
Part of the demonstration on the Ringstrasse, near Rathauspark , on October 28, 2009

Developments until 1968

The 1950s and 1960s were mainly characterized by a strong conservative, German national, right-wing radical and also neo-Nazi predominance among the students, represented by the Catholic Cartell Association and the right-wing ring of Freedom Students . At that time Austria still denied any complicity in National Socialism and defined itself as the “first victim”. In this climate, especially after the withdrawal of the occupying powers in 1955, right-wing groups and fraternities became more open, such as in October 1959, when around 2,000 German nationalists marched, sang and laid wreaths in Vienna on the occasion of the 200th birthday of Friedrich Schiller , while anti-fascist counter-demonstrators were beaten by the police.

One of Austria's first student protests took place on Vienna's Ringstrasse in 1952 when students held a sit-in strike against tuition fees .

As early as December 1960, the Austrian University Conference made it necessary for the first time to rent private halls, such as cinemas, due to overcrowded lecture halls in order to be able to guarantee regular study operations. Against these conditions there were repeated demonstrations, for example on May 29, 1961, when the ring was blocked, and on December 14, 1962. In May 1963, the Austrian Students' Union (ÖH) called for "Action Regulations" - the students should attend all enrolled lectures to make the space shortage visible. In addition, there were “wild”, ie unannounced, demonstrations on May 17th in downtown Vienna. Since RFS students heard slogans like “ Pittermann in den Congo ” or “ Pittermann - Sozisau ” during these demonstrations, the student body canceled further demonstrations because they were “used by immature and radical students to riot and assault ”.

Incidents of right-wing extremism increased in the early 1960s, and there were increasing arrests of rampaging right-wing students. The Vienna fraternity Olympia was dissolved in 1961 because of involvement in bomb attacks in South Tyrol (and re-established in 1973).

In 1962, the professor of social and economic history at the University of World Trade , Taras Borodajkewycz , sued two authors who put him in an article in connection with "neo-Nazism". Borodajkewycz was known among students for the anti-Semitic statements he made in his lectures, but the authors were found guilty in November 1963. The discussions about Borodajkewycz expanded, and quotations from Borodajkewycz were sought in the cabaret series “Zeitventil”. Borodajkewycz found it necessary to hold a press conference on March 23, 1965 in the rooms of the student body, which was attended by numerous sympathizers who cheered loudly at every anti-Semitic statement. These provocations led to clashes between socialist students and sympathizers of Borodajkewycz at one of his lectures the next day. The chairman of the student body subsequently expressed his solidarity with Borodajkewycz, distributors of leaflets calling for no “anti-Semites and anti-democrats” to be tolerated, and were sometimes harassed with “Heil Borodajkewycz” shouts.

On March 29, there were demonstrations in which 1,000 opponents of Borodajkewycz met around 200 right-wing extremist counter-demonstrators who shouted “Saujuden”, “Communist pigs” and “Hoch Auschwitz”. On March 31, right-wing extremists attacked another left demonstration with steel rods and sticks. This demonstration also led to the fatal incident that suddenly ended the spiral of escalation: when a counter-demonstrator attacked the former resistance fighter against National Socialism Ernst Kirchweger , he was so badly injured that he succumbed to the injuries two days later. As a result, there was the largest anti-fascist demonstration in Austria of the post-war period with 25,000 participants. Squatters later named the Ernst-Kirchweger-Haus after him.

In 1967, after the murder of Benno Ohnesorg, there were large demonstrations of solidarity. In the same year there were also demonstrations against the introduction of computer-processed university statistics.

Developments after 1968

In 1967 the municipality of Vienna was created , a mixture of action group and student association around Robert Schindel , which in the meantime was also called Socialist Austrian Students (SÖS) and finally the Federation of New Left (FNL) . This group was involved in many actions from 1967 to 1969 and then disappeared again from the scene.

One of the first actions in 1968 was a disruptive action at the opera ball on February 22nd, initiated by the left-wing student representatives, the Association of Democratic Students (VDS) and the Free Austrian Youth (FÖJ). A blockade on the Ringstrasse was soon cleared by the police, but leaflets could be thrown in the State Opera.

On May 1, 1968, the tensions between the VSStÖ, the association of socialist students , and the SPÖ , which did not want to tolerate any disruption of their traditional march by students and therefore checked all banners beforehand, escalated . When in the afternoon a brass band concert, which was also to be broadcast on television, was “disrupted” by students dancing round groups and discussion groups, an eviction deadline was set, and after its unsuccessful police officers stormed, who were greeted by the students with “Ho-Ho -Holaubek "calls (the name of the then police chief) were received in the square. As was common at the time, there were numerous injured students among the students who were beaten down by police officers, kicked and sometimes dragged from the square by their (long) hair. The police received active support from many of the concert-goers, some of whom held the students or pushed the police in the arms. In the days that followed, many left the VSStÖ in protest against the SPÖ and in some cases joined forces with the Vienna Commune to form the SÖS.

One of the first high points of the student protests in 1968 was a “teach-in” on “world revolution and counterrevolution” under the leadership of Bahman Nirumand , a Persian close to the German SDS. The event lasted late into the night and finally resulted in the occupation of lecture hall 1 of the new institute building (NIG) of the University of Vienna. Works councils of the Floridsdorfer Lokomotivfabrik held speeches late into the night about the threatened closure of the plant. The occupation was ended the next day to take part in the student demonstration, as a result of which the parliamentary ramp was stormed. The high school students of the Lycée Français de Vienne went on strike in solidarity with the French students, in the Gymnasium Stubenbastei high school students boycotted the lessons and occupied the drawing room because they were prevented from leaving the building by professors.

On June 7th the most famous event of the “68er Movement” in Austria took place: The event “Art and Revolution”, which went down in history as “ Uni-Ferkelei ”, by actionist artists in lecture hall 1 of the NIG. The subsequent "media hate campaign" caused many students to distance themselves from the activists around the SÖS, which then gradually dissolved.

On October 17th, the attempt to disrupt the inauguration of the new rector failed. The few who were able to advance to the event in the ballroom early in the morning were roughly pushed out again by RFS and corps students. But when the dignitaries wanted to leave the building later via the auditorium, they were locked in by the now numerous waiting students and pelted with confetti and tomatoes.

However, many see the actual high point of the student movement of this time in the events that began on January 20, 1969. The Shah of Persia was in Vienna. There were rallies against him and clashes with the police. Some of the demonstrators then fled to the Audimax of the University of Vienna and occupied it. The Siegfriedskopf in the auditorium, a symbolic meeting place for fraternity members, was smeared with feces. The next day there were rallies again, during which supporters of the Shah (“ Jubelperser ”) “avenged” the students and other demonstrators for the previous day and attacked them with iron bars and slats. This was followed by a demonstration on January 22nd with 3,000 participants demanding the expulsion of the Iranian secret service. The demonstration was stopped by the police at Freyung and ordered to break up. Counter-demonstrators, primarily from the RFS environment, accompanied the demonstration with shouts like “ Bravo police! "," Down with the red flags "and" Better dead than red ". When the demonstration moved on across the Graben to the opera, violent clashes with the police and scenes of persecution broke out again. When the chairman of the opposition Iranian student association in Vienna, Esmail Salem, was arrested and should have been deported to Iran, there were again protests on January 27th, including a "teach-in" in lecture hall 1 of the University of Vienna and a sit-in strike , followed by a hunger strike by Iranian and Austrian students. The only concession that was achieved was that Salem was not deported to Iran, but was allowed to travel to a country of his choice.

The next major protests and demonstrations took place in the course of the international protests against the invasion of US soldiers in Cambodia in early May 1970. After a smaller rally on May 8, there was a large demonstration on May 13, during which the top floor of the Academy of Fine Arts and the Sociological Institute of the University of Vienna were filled. Anti-American banners and a flag of the Vietnamese liberation front were hoisted on the roof of the Hotel Bristol, the seat of the US-SALT delegation. The demonstration counted 5,000 participants, afterwards many met for an event in the Audimax, in lecture hall 1 of the NIG there was a teach-in to prepare for further activities.

Under the new government of Bruno Kreisky in 1969/1970, under pressure from the students, study commissions were set up with a tripartite say for the students. The first institute representatives were formed. In 1973 the same government abolished tuition fees.

In 1975 the new University Organization Act came into force. For the first time, this stipulates the participation of students in university decisions.

From 1976 to 1984 there were a number of action movements, which began with student participation or from student circles. There were several occupations, including those of the old slaughterhouse in Sankt Marx, with the participation of now well-known singers such as Wolfgang Ambros . The Arena Wien emerged from this line-up . The WUK , GAGA and Amerlinghaus were also established during this period .

From the mid-1980s, the conservative, ÖVP-affiliated action group (AG) and its affiliated right-wing student representatives lost the majority in the elections of the Austrian student body (ÖH) for the first time in decades, and the ÖH played a stronger role in the following protests.

In 1987, students occupied the Audimax of the University of Vienna in protest against an austerity package in the education sector. It remained occupied until mid-November, at the same time spontaneous demonstrations and protests took place. Demonstrations also took place in other Austrian university cities. The largest demonstration took place on Saturday, October 24, 1987, with an estimated 40,000 participants. The demonstrations grew weaker and weaker until the Christmas holidays, after which the protests came to an end. The conservative student union AG, however, distanced itself from it and held its own demonstration in November.

In the autumn of 1989, several smaller actions and demonstrations took place by individual institutes and left-wing groups. In January 1992 the Audimax in Vienna was reoccupied and a "platform against tightening studies" was founded. A demo organized by the working group reached 10,000 participants in March.

In 1992 there were a number of counter-demonstrations in response to the FP anti-foreigners plebiscite , and in 1993 a sea of candles was lit on Heldenplatz in Vienna .

A new university organization law was also passed in 1993. This was followed by an austerity package announced in 1995 and entered into force in 1996 , which was also intended to affect the education system. At the end of September there were protests at many secondary schools, and on September 22, 1995, thousands demonstrated in Vienna. On October 17, 1995, against the votes of the AG, another demonstration was organized by the ÖH, in which around 10,000 took part. Already in the semester break, some institute representatives mobilize for new protests, the Audimax was occupied again, but played a smaller role than before due to more decentralized structures. Around 40,000 people demonstrated on March 14. A demonstration was held every Friday for the following weeks to keep the movement from crumbling. However, fewer and fewer students took part. Spontaneous, unannounced demonstrations through Vienna replaced the regular protests. Both were protest variations that were widely used at the Thursday demonstrations against the center-right government in 2000.

In 2000 there were numerous demonstrations, including from students, against the new government of Wolfgang Schuessel with the FPÖ Jörg Haider . Against the reintroduction of tuition fees, which the same government reintroduced in 2001/2002, there were again violent demonstrations in advance. On September 19, 2000, the day on which the reintroduction of the tuition fees became known, there was a spontaneous demonstration at the ring. In the course of the Thursday demonstrations, education policy was repeatedly discussed and tens of thousands of students took part in a separate demonstration against the reintroduction of tuition fees on October 11th. Demonstrations and smaller, irregular actions took place until March 2001. A regular university day of action could not be implemented.

Also in 2002 there was a brief occupation of the Vienna Audimax, in protest against the University Act 2002 by Minister Gehrer.

On January 20, 2004, the ÖH organized several hours of occupation of the rectorate and the senate meeting room by several hundred students in protest against the new organizational plan by rector Winckler, which, according to the students' allegations, would finally abolish democratic structures and replace them with neoliberal structures and plans. In this occupation, which took place during a meeting, it came to Tortung by Rector Winckler. Also in March there was a one-day occupation of the rectorate and the senate meeting room by dozens of students in protest against the insufficient consideration of women in the new organizational plan.

Student protests in 2009

On October 20, 2009, teaching staff and students of the Academy of Fine Arts occupied their university under the motto Our University in protest against the introduction of the Bachelor / Master system (see Bologna Process ), which is supported by the Rectorate . As a result, a solidarity rally of students from the University of Vienna took place on October 22nd in the votive park in front of the main building . The rally was broken up a little later by the police, whereupon the demonstrators moved into the university building and unceremoniously occupied the auditorium to the maximum . Within a short period of time, the cast was very popular, it lasted 61 days and thus longer than ever before. The difference to previous Audimax occupations was also the extent: In addition to the Audimax, two directly adjacent, large rooms (cloakroom and prominent room) were also occupied. The former as a people's kitchen, the latter as a press and media room. The University Sports Center (USI), which is also in the main building, but in a different wing, was also occupied until recently. Above all, however, on October 27, an auditorium on the campus, the second largest in Austria, the “C1”, which has large open spaces in the foyer, was occupied and furnished with couches and hammocks. This remained occupied until January 6, 2010, i.e. 77 days. The rest of the building can still be used, however, and the lecture hall will continue to be open to plenary in the evenings. The protests spread to other Austrian universities under the common symbolic motto Uni burns , so lecture halls in Graz , Linz and Salzburg were occupied. The protest is directed against tuition fees , admission restrictions and the politics of the Austrian Science and Research Minister Johannes Hahn ( ÖVP ).

In general, more financial and spatial capacities are required for Austrian universities, which suffer from a chronic shortage of space and a poor supervisory relationship. A big demo was called for October 28th under the motto More money for education instead of banks and corporations . Between 10,000 (according to the police), 20,000 to 30,000 ( daily news ) and 50,000 (according to the organizer) demonstrators took part in this march on Vienna's Ringstrasse and through the city center. On October 30, after a demonstration through downtown Innsbruck , the largest lecture hall of the social and economic science faculty of the Leopold-Franzens University was occupied by protesting students.


Under the slogan Education is not for sale , the students in Basel are also protesting against excessive tuition fees and the university. Further concerns of the students are the transparency of the ECTS allocation and its standardization as well as the improvement of the international mobility of the students intended by the Bologna reform. On November 11th, 2009, students from the University of Basel occupied the auditorium. Various campaigns, including concerts and poetry slams, caused a sensation across Switzerland. On November 12th, the rector Antonio Loprieno appeared for a discussion with students in which they made their demands.


Memorial stone in the city of Drama in Northern Greece

A youth and student movement comparable to the 1968 movement in many countries of western Europe could not develop in Greece, because on April 21, 1967 a military dictatorship had been established that suppressed all forms of opposition.

Since the “Junta of the Colonels” met with consistent rejection from many governments and above all from the public of the nations of the West, resistance arose in Greece over the years, which was sparked at the major universities by the fact that the Students were not allowed to democratically choose their representation in university committees.

Start of the protests

In the 1972/73 winter semester, elections were again required and the students also wanted to discuss the content of the courses. Protests followed the rejection. "The regime reacted [...] with the police stick [...] At the same time, a law was passed that made it possible to immediately draft insubordinate students into military service." On the other hand, on February 13, 1973, a demonstration took place, which was forcibly dissolved and 37 students were drafted immediately. There were further riots and 51 new drafts.

As a result, about 2,000 students barricaded themselves in the law school building on February 21. The university senate tried to mediate and the occupation was ended. But the junta leadership remained tough - the 96 drafted students were supposed to do their military service. Riots in Thessaloniki and Patras followed. In Athens, the law school was again occupied and on March 20, 1973, the police stormed the building.

Any legal assistance from Greek and international lawyers for the arrested was denied.

On November 4, 1973, after a service in the Athens Cathedral on the death of the socialist politician Georgios Papandreou , rallies against the junta and street battles with the police who intervened immediately broke out. Further drastic judgments against students again led to protests, initially at the University of Athens.

Occupation of the Polytechneion

On November 14th, several thousand students occupied the Polytechneion of Athens University. Others gathered in other institutes. All students demanded that they choose their own representation. The elections were to be held on December 4, 1973.

The Greek dictator Papadopoulos hesitated at first because the director and the senate of the Polytechneion stood behind the students and even the minister of education tried to mediate, but there was now increasing unrest in the population of the capital.

On the morning of November 15, a student's shortwave station had broadcast the first programs that were recorded by Deutsche Welle and broadcast from Germany throughout Greece. “In the afternoon there were around 6,000 people at the Polytechneion, students, pupils and workers. Around 8 p.m., the number rose to around 15,000. Two workers and one student were associated with the management committee. "

On November 16, around 1,000 students each occupied institutes at their universities in Thessaloniki and Patras .

A cabinet meeting was held at noon. Papdopoulos “explained to those gathered that something had to be done at the Polytechneion; but no blood should be shed. [...] He wanted to use the army. It is not clear who gave the order to use agents provocateurs from the KYP (secret service) and the military police (ESA) from noon to create pretexts for the intervention. "

Later that afternoon there were demonstrations and clashes with the police in the city, at Syntagma Square , the Nomarchy Building and in front of the Ministry of Public Order. These actions did not come from the Polytechneion. “The protesters were students from other Athens universities, schoolchildren, workers and the usual chaos who are always around on such occasions. [...] In the Polytechneion the situation was unchanged. The Senate was still closed behind the Rector. At around 4 pm the students gave a press conference in the building, at which they themselves learned that tear gas could be used against them. ”This was actually used in the forecourt at 5 pm.

At 22.30 am, the military units with 10 tanks and three armored sat personnel carriers towards the center in motion.

17th November 1973

"Around 1 o'clock in the morning on November 17th, the tanks arrived in the area of ​​the Polytechneion." Everywhere people fled. Around 2 a.m. the tanks were standing in front of the academic grounds. “About a quarter of an hour later, a group of students appeared to negotiate a peaceful withdrawal with the military. [... They] asked for half an hour to clear the premises. The officers wanted to give them ten minutes at most, then they would use force. ”The forecourt of the Polytechneion was now full of students.

“When a tank approached, they shouted 'Don't shoot, we're brothers'. Then they started singing the national anthem. Before the ten minutes were up, a tank rolled towards the heavy, wrought-iron gate of the college. Press photos show the tank with the cannon aimed at the Polytechneion with the commander standing in the tower. The students had parked an old Mercedes behind the gate as a further obstacle. The tank broke through the gate and rolled over the car. Students and journalists who sat on the side gate pillars were thrown down. There should have been deaths. The soldiers broke into the building. Radio Polytechneion's broadcasts ended at 2.45 a.m. The students on the premises and in the building tried to escape. Many managed to escape, but a large number were arrested. "

- Richter, p. 393 f. From : Woodhouse: Rise and Fall , p. 137.

The news magazine Der Spiegel published the last broadcasts from Radio Polytechneion.

“A night curfew has been imposed on the university cities of Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras. The press was severely censored. [...] Nevertheless, on November 18, there were always minor unrest. ”A propagandistic wave of the junta followed, which among others also blamed“ the old politicians ”- the Greek embassies abroad declared that“ the The whole thing was a conspiracy by anarchists to prevent the elections and the planned return to democracy. "

Consequences of the uprising

Memorial stone in Argostoli (Kefalonia)

“Precise verifiable information on the number of dead, injured and arrested is not available until today (2012). The information given in the later process varies. According to this, between 700 and 1,000 people were arrested, between 180 and 200 injured and 23 dead. The police reportedly had fewer than a dozen injured, none of whom were gunshot wounds. Only one policeman was seriously injured. ”To this day, a memorial demonstration takes place every year on November 17th.

The unrest is generally regarded as a “student revolt”, but an assignment of those arrested during the crackdown on the night of November 16-17 shows that the involvement was far greater: “Only 49 students came from the Polytechneion. 268 students were from other Athens university institutions. 74 were students and 475 workers. "

The echo of the event at home and abroad was so great that immediately afterwards - on November 25, 1973 - the dictator Papadopoulos overthrew through internal faults and his successor Ioannidis, who pursued an even sharper course, only until the final overthrow of the junta to the summer of 1974.


  • Neumann-Schönwetter, Marek and others: Adapt and go under. BdWi-Verlag, Marburg, 1999. Series "Hochschule", Volume 1.
  • Foltin, Robert : And we are still moving - social movements in Austria. Edition Grundrisse, Vienna 2004
  • Keller, Andreas: University reform and university revolt. BdWi-Verlag, Marburg, 2000. "Hochschule" series, volume 4. At the same time, dissertation (Marburg).
  • Martin Klimke; Student Protest in West Germany and the United States in the Global Sixties , Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 2010 ISBN 978-0-691-13127-6 ; also as an audio book.
  • Heinz A. Richter : Greece 1950–1974. Between democracy and dictatorship . Verlag FP Rutzen, Mainz and Ruhpolding 2013. ISBN 978-3-447-06908-3 .
  • Public Committee of the FSR-VV at the Ernst-Bloch-Uni Tübingen: USTA-MATerialien. Tuebingen 1981.

Individual evidence

  1. End of immodesty , leaflet on the student strike, University of Frankfurt / Main, November 21, 1988: “The newly created forms of self-organization such as action committees, central student councils, and plenary assemblies offer the opportunity to develop political content and forms of action that oppose the transparent Assert the interests of the university management, the party-dependent groups and against the profiling neuroses of individual student politicians . The dynamism of the manifesting protest now enables a university-wide strike to be organized. An ACTIVE STRIKE in the next few days offers the chance to develop our unease and criticism of the conditions at the university and beyond, regardless of everyday student life, across all faculties. The strike will show to what extent the protest does not remain a mere ephemera in everyday university life, to what extent criticized study conditions become student criticism of the conditions. "
  2. ^ Renewed occupation of the Christian Albrechts University
  3. - ( Memento from March 10, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  4. See an example
  5. See the ( page no longer available , search in web archives: report from 16vor )@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /
  6. See
  7. Internet site on the nationwide education strike 2009 ( Memento from August 2, 2009 in the Internet Archive ), Memento in the Internet Archive , accessed on February 15, 2017
  8. Berliner Tagesspiegel on the "Crisis Demo" on March 28, 2009
  9. ^ Education strike 2009 - decision of the GEW trade union day ( Memento from June 12, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  10. Students whistle from Chancellor Merkel at Humboldt University ( Memento from February 11, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  11. ( Memento from June 18, 2009 in the Internet Archive ): Education strike begins with occupied lecture halls
  12. ^ German Bundestag: "Take the demands of the nationwide education strike seriously" , current hour on the education strike from June 18, 2009
  13. of November 7, 2009: Students protest again
  14. of November 12th, 2009: Riots at the universities ( Memento of November 13th, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  15. University mirror: Occupy? No way , accessed on November 17, 2011
  16. Der Tagesspiegel: Occupied FU lecture hall cleared , accessed on November 17, 2011
  17. a b c d e f g h i Christian Schreibmüller: Chronology: Student revolts in Austria. Profil , vol. 39, no. 40, September 29, 2008, supplement "profil extra", p. 7
  18. Peter Eppel, Heinrich Lotter: Documentation on Austrian contemporary history. 1955-1980. Verlag Jugend und Volk, Vienna 1981, p. 449; quoted from: Robert Foltin: And we are still moving - social movements in Austria. Edition Grundrisse, Vienna 2004, p. 65 ( Copyleft- licensed book )
  19. ^ Fritz Keller: Vienna, May 68 - A hot quarter of an hour. Junius-Verlag, Vienna 1983, p. 29; quoted from: Foltin, 2004, p. 65
  20. Keller, 1983, p. 30; quoted from: Foltin, 2004, p. 65
  21. Fritz Keller: A new spring? Socialist youth organizations 1945 to 1965. Europaverlag, Vienna 1985, p. 120; Eppel, Lotter, 1981, p. 451; both quoted from: Foltin, 2004, p. 65
  22. Foltin, 2004, p. 48
  23. ^ A b Wilhelm Svoboda: Revolt and Establishment. The history of the Association of Socialist Middle School Students 1953–1973. Böhlau Verlag, Vienna 1986, p. 57 ff .; Quoted from: Foltin, 2004, p. 48
  24. - 1968 in Austria.
  25. Foltin, 2004, pp. 66–68
  26. Foltin, 2004, p. 69
  27. Keller, 1983, p. 72; based on: Foltin, 2004, p. 70
  28. Keller, 1983, p. 78; based on: Foltin, 2004, p. 71
  29. ^ Paulus Ebner, Karl Vocelka: The tame revolution. '68 and what remained of it. Ueberreuter, Vienna 1998, p. 182; according to: Foltin, 2004, p. 72
  30. Foltin, 2004, p. 71
  31. Keller, 1983, pp. 84 ff; according to: Foltin, 2004, p. 72 f.
  32. Keller, 1983, p. 110 ff; based on: Foltin, 2004, p. 73
  33. a b c d e - Student movements in Austria ( Memento from October 12, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  34. ( Memento from October 12, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) APA report from April 25, 2002 cited by
  35. "Cake instead of words"
  36. Press release of the ÖH, January 16, 2004
  37. March 9, 2004
  38. Internet presence of the student protest 2009
  39. ^ Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF): University of Vienna: Students keep Audimax occupied , article from October 22, 2009
  40. - Current reports on the university protests in Austria
  41. ^ Die Presse : Student protests in Graz, Linz and Klagenfurt on October 27, 2009 (accessed on October 28, 2009).
  42. ^ - Large student demo for educational reform , October 28, 2009
  43. Hundreds of people keep Audimax occupied , article from October 23, 2009
  44. Home Domestic Abroad Economy Regional Federal Election Election Archive Weather Multimedia VideoLivestream tagesschau 02:55 am Videotagesschau24 VideoLast broadcast tagesschau 01:25 am Show broadcast Weltatlas Info-Services Blog News in English Haberler For children Donation accounts About us Correspondents archive Table of contents Massive student protests in Austria - Matthias Keller-May, BR 10/30/2009 ( Memento from November 2, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) (video no longer available)
  45. University occupation Day 7: Tens of thousands demonstrate in Vienna against the decline in education . October 28, 2009 (accessed October 29, 2009)
  46. Tiroler Tageszeitung: Students occupy the largest lecture hall at SoWi Innsbruck . October 30, 2009 (accessed October 30, 2009)
  47. Der Spiegel 28 (July 3, 1972), p. 89 , gave a first comprehensive presentation .
  48. ^ Heinz A. Richter : Greece 1950–1974. Between democracy and dictatorship. Verlag FP Rutzen, Mainz and Ruhpolding, 2013, p. 383.
  49. ↑ On this: Keesing's Contemporary Archives, p. 26.325; FRUS 1969-1976, XXX, p. 3 .; Der Spiegel 9 (February 26, 1973): Greece. Spiritual death. , P. 74 f.
  50. ^ Richter, p. 389; Keesing's Temporary Archives, p. 26.235.
  51. ^ Filippos Kavvadia: Edo Polytechneio. (Athens: Sakkoulas, 1974), p. 35 f. In: Richter, p. 390.
  52. Christopher Montague Woodhouse : The Rise and the Fall of the Greek Colonels . Franklin Watts, New York 1985, p. 133.
  53. ^ Richter, p. 391.
  54. Der Spiegel 48, November 26, 1973: Greeks, how can you sleep? , P. 124.
  55. ^ Richter, p. 394.
  56. Woodhouse: Rise and Fall , pp. 139-141.
  57. Woodhouse: Rise and Fall , p. 137. “An investigation by the Greek Research Foundation (Ethniko Idryma Erevnon) from 2003 names 24 dead and 886 arrested, but does not distinguish between [the incidents] at the Polytechneion and the Ministry." From: A Day in History , Athens News (November 28, 2012).
  58. Woodhouse: Rise and Fall. P. 138.