In the wake of student protests in Austria since the end of October 2009 against restrictions on the access to higher education, many Austrian universities' lecture halls and rooms were occupied, including the two largest auditoriums in Austria at the University of Vienna.
The protests represent the largest Austrian education protests in recent years and led to a broad discussion about education policy. Personalities from the worlds of education, politics, civil society, trade unions, the arts and culture, and the media have commented on the protests and showed solidarity to some extent. The protesters represent grass-roots-efforts and are democratically organized; the internet plays a central role in communication. In addition to the demonstrations, various working groups were formed and started further actions. In the occupied rooms, plenaries were held to come to decisions, and cultural and educational events took place. The demands of the protesters include funding for and democratization of the universities, as well as the abolition or non-introduction of tuition fees. A central slogan of the protests is "education instead of vocational education" (Bildung statt Ausbildung). The protests often run under the joint symbolic motto "university burns" (Uni brennt) or "our university" (Unsere Uni).
Anti-government protests in the 21st century