More on the killing of Cheibani Wague in Vienna

23.Jul.03 - Some hours after the Austrian State Television (ORF) showed a video with the scene of treatment of Cheibani (see: on evening of July 21st, the memorial for Cheibani in the African Cultural Village was set on fire by someone. This was the second time when the African Village was set on fire. First time it happend on 6th of June 2003 (see report, only in german at:

This second fire destroied the memorial and one stand. The police told the media that candles of the memorial were the reason for the fire, but there were no candles when the fire broke out - after strong rain at 3am in the night on 22nd of July.

Now the city office for horticulture (Stadtgartenamt) told the organiser of the Village to close it down, because they are - in their eyes - a risk for public security. And on Tuesday, 22nd of July, the Electricity was cut by the authorities.

The organisers of the Village told that it is not possible to continue with the cultural program after what happend - they see the African Cultural Villade now as political memorial - to keep in mind what happend there and to show the daily racism against africans and foreigners in Austria.

More on the African Cultural Village on: (if this link is not broken)

Protests against racism after the killing of Cheibani Wague

Several protests against racism took place after the killing of Cheibani Wague on 15. of July 2003.

On Friday, 18 July 2003, at 9 o'clock in the morning, about 50 people gathered at the African Cultural Village in the Vienna city park. About 45 people left the Cultural Village and marched down the Herrengasse toward the Ministry of the Interior. The police let the spontaneous demonstration go down the street without any problems. Shortly after 10 o'clock, about 70 people had gathered in front of the Ministry of the Interior. People distributed handbills as photos of Cheibani Wague, candles and flowers were set up in front of the entrance to the ministry of the Interior.

In the demo, people chanted slogans like, "Police kill!", "Black and White, unite and fight!", "Stop racist muderers!" etc. The vigil continued outside the Ministry of the Interior until about 6 in the evening. (Pictures:

On Friday, July 18, there was a mass meeting at the African Cultural Village. On Monday, July 21, there was a vigil from 10 o'clock in the morning onward in front of the Ministry of the Interior by the Herrengasse. (Video:

On Friday, July 25, there will be an anti-racist demonstration in Vienna, meeting-place: 5pm Vienna Westbahnhof, the demostration will march to Minstry of Interior and Federal Chancellery.

Please keep reading the activist forums, such as, for updates, and pass the information on.

Statement of GEMMI on the dead of Cheibani Wague

On 15 July 2003, Cheibani Wague, a 33-year old man from Mauritania, diedin the hospital after a police intervention in the African village within the Vienna city park. Eyewitnesses to the action report massive use of force by the police. Cheibani Wague was given tranquilizers, and he died in the hospital. The official autopsy reports his cause of death as "heart failure." Whatever the official cause of death, one thing is clear: Cheibani Wague is one more person who has died in connection with a police intervention. As always, state power targets the marginalized. We strongly condemn this recent demonstration of the murderous nature of state power. We grieve with Cheibani Wague's family and friends.

For years, Gemmi has been writing about institutional racism in Austria. This racism is especially clear around election-time, with increases in excessive police actions, particularly against Africans, and increases in racist discourse in the legislature and among government officials, in the media, and in the everyday life. Racism persists because of racist ideas, constructed by the mass media, such as the idea that migrants are part of a "world-wide drug mafia"; these constructions cement racist prejudice, justify the police state, and frighten the public away from acting in solidarity. For years, Africans, migrants, and other minorities have been criminalized. It is not really surprising that another African has died following arrest or a police intervention; what is surprising is that one does not hear more about these incidents, in light of the systemic brutality in which such "security measures" become routine.

We resist institutional racism, the class-biased judicial system, and the police state. We must uphold solidarity with all those affected, whether or not those concerned have broken any of the state's laws. Does an individual's drug use make it any less criminal for the justice system to treat that person unfairly, or for police to kill that person? We live in a system where policemencan beat and shoot people with impunity, fearing no consequences other than perhaps being transferred to a different station. This system gives legal sanction to injustice.

Cheibani Wague's death is scandalous: not because the police's actions in this case represent an exception, but because of the systemic pattern of abuse they represent. Within this system, WEGA military police may attack the homes of asylum-seekers, anger and resistance justify murder, and migration is made into a crime. Every month, there are drug raids against the homes of refugees; refugees are searched in their homes and in public places. This is the same institutional racism that has led to the death of Cheibani Wague.

Racism hurts all of is. Justice and humanity cannot be separated; they must apply equally to all. It is a fallacy to say that those who distance themselves from oppressed groups, who "keep their noses clean" and obey the state's laws, are not affected by discrimination and repression. Keeping out of trouble will not protect you from oppression, but it does mean accepting oppression without contesting the status quo. Our mourning and rage do not signify resignation and helplessness; they must encourage our solidarity, so that our resistance becomes broader and more diverse.

No justice, no peace!