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Vienna demo and concert in support of refugees

A demonstration and concert to show solidarity for refugees is taking place in Vienna on Saturday - with tens of thousands of people expected to attend.

Vienna demo and concert in support of refugees
Refugees at Vienna's Westbahnhof station. Photo: Caritas

Organizers expect up to 40,000 people to join the march in support of refugees on Saturday afternoon, under the banner “Flüchtlinge Wilkommen!”. Later in the afternoon a free concert on Heldenplatz will feature German punk band Die Toten Hosen, Conchita Wurst, and a speech by Austrian President Heinz Fischer.

Demonstrators will gather at 1pm on Christian-Broda-Platz for the march, which is organised by numerous NGOs and human rights groups. A performance of Elfriede Jelinek's play Die Schutzbefohlenen is planned, as well as speeches by representatives of aid organisations.

The march will set off at around 2pm, down Mariahilferstrasse, Babenbergerstrasse and the Ringstrasse, past the parliament, where a one hour rally will be held at 3.30pm. Gary Howard (formerly of British a cappella group the Flying Pickets) will perform Only You, and representatives from the Austrian Students’ Union as well as refugees will speak.

The Voices for Refugees concert will kick off on Heldenplatz at 4.30pm. It will feature around 15 Austrian and international artists, including Die Toten Hosen, Conchita Wurst, Bilderbuch, Zucchero, Konstantin Wecker and Kreisky. The event is scheduled to go on until 11pm, and up to 50,000 people are expected to attend. The concert will be broadcast live on Puls 4 from 6.50pm.

More than 30 Viennese art and cultural institutions are also taking part in the solidarity day for refugees. Look out for a light installation, a flash mob and performance at Dschungel Wien, and another concert at the Gasometer (Artists for Refugees) which is raising money for the Diakonie charity. The Vienna Symphony Orchestra is inviting 300 refugees to a rehearsal of its season opening concert and many theatres in Vienna will be collecting donations before and after performances.

Transport delays

There will be delays and diversions on public transport – from 1pm the number 5 tram will only travel between Josefstädterstrasse and Praterstern. The 13A bus will be on diversion between Alserstrasse and Neubaugasse/Siebensterngasse and between Hauptbahnhof and Neubaugasse.

From 2pm, the number 1 tram will be diverted via Schwarzenbergplatz, Stubenring and Julius-Raab-Platz and the number 2 tram will not be travelling between Dr.-Karl-Renner-Ring and Schwedenplatz. The 71 tram will only travel between Zentralfriedhof and Schwarzenbergplatz and the D will be diverted in both directions via Schottenring, Schwedenplatz, Stubenring and Schwarzenbergplatz.

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The office for immigration and citizenship in Vienna is for many immigrants their first encounter with Austrian bureaucracy. We want to hear from you about your own experience dealing with officials and the process.

Tell us: What was your experience like dealing with Vienna's MA35?

Vienna’s MA35 is a well-known office for immigrants in Austria, particularly those who live in the capital. It has received plenty of criticism for long delays, mistakes and even mistreatment of those seeking services from renewing a visa to applying for Austrian citizenship.

Yet, it is an integral part of life for immigrants and their family members, as the office is responsible for residence permits (from visas to the Anmeldebescheiningung for EU citizens), naturalisation applications and more. In short: there is no escaping it.

So, we want to hear from you: What has been your experience and importantly do you have any advice for others?

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