Postcard from... Vienna


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The Independent Online

Café Prückel is the kind of traditional Viennese coffee house for which the Austrian capital is famous. Situated on the Stubenring, its customers are mostly students from Vienna’s University for Applied Arts, which stands opposite. It is proud of its 1950s furniture and, it emerged last week, its management has a robust 1950s attitude to match the décor.

Eva Prewein, 26, and Anastasia Lopez, 19, were recently booted out of Prückel for daring to kiss each other on the premises. Such behaviour “belongs in a brothel and not in a traditional coffee house”, fumed Christl Sedlar, the 60-year-old manager, before ordering the lesbian couple to leave. “I don’t like petting in my café, I don’t care who is cuddling who,” she told the city’s Kurier newspaper. Ms Lopez said she was “stunned” by the way they were treated.

Austria hit the headlines at the start of the millennium after it formed a government with the far-right Freedom Party, headed by the famously gay and now dead Jörg Haider. But, up until 1971, having a gay relationship could result in jail.  Gay marriage is banned and gay couples are not permitted to adopt children. The campaign group To Russia with Love Austria is planning a peaceful “kiss protest” outside Café Prückel for this Friday. So far, 1,850 people are set to take part.