29 APRIL 1989, Page 17

One hundred years ago

THE populace of Vienna, usually quiet enough, has been rioting this week in a serious way. The popular mode of locomotion in Vienna, where the citizens go great distances to enjoy fresh air and shade, is by tramcar; and the Tramcar Companies, eager for di- vidends, overcrowd their carriages, and work their men to death. The conduc- tors are often on duty for sixteen hours a day, and declare that the exertion of working the brakes during that long period produces within ten years either death or paralysis. On Sunday, there- fore, they struck work for shorter hours, and as the Companies would not yield, the workmen of the suburbs sided with the conductors, stopped the cars — to the grief of Vienna, which wanted to get to the Prater, and would not walk there if it were paid to do it — smashed windows, and stoned the police. The hardness of the Companies, moreover, being attributed, as usual, to the Jew shareholders, a regular anti-Semitic riot was organised, and on Wednesday the Jews were in extreme danger. Large bodies of cavalry and infantry were called out, and two suburbs occupied in regular military fashion; but the mob continued to throw stones, and several policemen, soldiers, and citizens were seriously wounded in the street con- flicts. At last the order was given to use firearms, and then the mob gave way, without compelling the soldiers to fire; and on Thursday night order was res- tored, and the conductors went back to work.

The Spectator, 27 April 1889