The Vienna event is one of more than 60 ‘sister’ marches being held around the world in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington on the same day.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend the Washington march, which was set up by a retired lawyer to protest against Trump’s inauguration. As well as the multiple marches in the US, events are being held in European cities including London, Paris, Rome, Brussels, Berlin, Geneva and Copenhagen.
The global event is not intended to be an exclusively anti-Trump march but a show of support for civil rights, and is supported by 200 progressive groups representing issues including legal abortion, affordable healthcare, voting rights, racial equality and the environment.
Caroline Kirkpatrick grew up on the East Coast of the United States and has lived in Austria for a year and a half. She spoke to The Local about why she decided to organise a march in Vienna. “After the election result I felt more than just disappointment, I felt a combination of many deep emotions and as an American living abroad I felt helpless and alone. Soon, I heard about the Women's March on Washington. I automatically wanted to go and began scouring the internet for flights. Finally there was a way to speak my voice and not feel so alone. When I found the journey would be long and expensive, I began to feel helpless again.
That's when I noticed sister marches popping up across the States. I thought, if they can do it in San Francisco, why can't I do it in Vienna? I posted on the Women of Vienna Facebook group and quickly received comments from women saying that they would stand with me. I created a Facebook event… and so it all began.”
Caroline Kirkpatrick. Photo: Private
Kirkpatrick says she was overwhelmed by the response she received on the event page. “I thought maybe ten women from the States would join me, we'd stand together, feel a little less alone and head home feeling a little better.
Soon after I created the Facebook page I was contacted by Karen Olsen, from the Geneva March. She told me that there were more women doing what I was doing abroad. More cities, more marches…and that they were all working together, creating a supportive network for planning and learning. Since then, the campaign has exploded. We are active in almost 60 countries and well over 100 cities abroad. It has turned into a bigger global movement responding to the rising rhetoric of far-right populism around the world.”
She hopes the marches will act as a “wake-up call” for people, who might be encouraged to get more involved in grassroots activism. “Prior to all of this I really had no interest in politics… even being just a little more awake to current events in politics is a big step for me. I hope it will have the same type of impact on others: to be more aware, reach out to local communities and join together to stand up for the basic rights of all living beings. When we all stand together, we are heard.”
Over 700 people have confirmed their attendance via the Facebook event page already. People will meet in front of the Karlskirche at midday on Saturday, and march in the direction of Stadtpark. The march is open to all supporters of civil rights.