13 March 2014
Today Encod carried out a first well succeeded picket line event at the UN in Viena. On their way into the UN building, all delegates to the CND meeting were wellcomed by two “coffee sniffers” (Erec from Vienna and Kid from Ronda) who presented them a flyer explaining about that ridiculous episode in history when coffee was prohibited – asking them to use this very moment to end the modern version of that story.
A group of 15 activists from Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, The Netherlands, France, Spain, Slovenia, Ireland and Belgium were around them and handed out stickers, told the delegates what we think about the war on drugs and the right to choose your own medicine and source of energy and culture.
Authorisation for the demonstration had been requested and received from the Austrian police. From the beginning UN security personnell was acting very agressively, asking us to go away (we were standing on Austrian territory) and not ‘harrass’ the delegates. The Austrian police were polite and friendly and apparently had more work in calming down the UN personnel than the demonstrators.
The only thing participants could complain about was that the soundsystem with reggae music only started to function from 9 am onwards. Under the Vienna sun it was then like we were many many more people in spirit standing there. For the images see the first Encod TV show reports that will available soon on this website.
At 10 am, the picket line event stopped and most us left to see Vienna and prepare the actions for tonight. Some went in to attend the meeting, and their reports will be surely heard of later.
Here is the experience of the Encod coordinator, Joep Oomen:
“When I went in at 11 am, I was picked out by security personnell who told me I would be body searched. I asked why I was picked out and they responded that was because I had participated in the demonstration. I responded that in a European context, it is your human right not to be body searched without a legitimate reason, and asked them for the protocol. Then the superviser came, shouted : you are going out now!, took my rucksack and my coat and threw them out on the street before the building. The agent who stood beside me recommended me to follow my rucksack, I did but I stopped three meters before the exit door, and said I did not want to leave without a reason. Then about 10 UN security officers showed up and said they would throw me out, if I did not go myself. I then fell on the ground and said they should throw me out if they wanted to.
Then supervisor 2 came and told the security officers to hold a distance, talked normally to me and said that all NGO delegates could be body searched, that only staff workers and governmental delegates have the right not to be body searched. I said I accepted that explanataion and under those conditions I would be body searched. But in the mean time supervisor 3 and 4 had arrived and they had to calm down supervisor 1 who had become red in the meantime. Also the Austrian police had shown up outside the door, with another 5 officers.
Then some US activists came in and I quickly told them what happened to me. Supervisor 3 then intervened immediately telling me to stop talking otherwise i would be thrown out in 2 seconds because I had violated the code of conduct for NGOs by creating an incident (3 meters before the exit door surrounded by 10 security officers). Finally, after 10 minutes, supervisor 4 explained me that I had the right to come in the building, but not today as the situation had become stressful as a result of my behaviour, but that I could come back tomorrow and enter the building if i obeyed to the rules. I thanked them for this occasion to enjoy the sun in Vienna and said I would be back tomorrow, because at 10.30 I need to make a speech at the plenary meeting.”
For your information: I am 1.86 tall and am not a muscle man..