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Why women will march on Geneva on Saturday

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Why women will march on Geneva on Saturday
File photo: Jason Redmond/AFP
09:14 CET+01:00
Hundreds are expected to attend the Geneva Women’s March for Dignity on January 21st, the day after the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, in a show of support for human and civil rights.
The Geneva event is one of more than 60 ‘sister’ marches being held around the world in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington the same day. 
 
As well as multiple marches in the US, events are being held in European cities including London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Stockholm.
 
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend the Washington march, which was set up by a retired lawyer to protest Trump’s inauguration. 
 
However the global event is not intended to be an 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. 
 
In a press release the organizers said: “The rhetoric of elections in many countries in recent years and of the last US election cycle in particular has insulted, demonized and threatened many of us. There has been a profound deepening of the divisions in many countries.... We seek to address these divisions and stand together in the face of injustice.”
 
The march will “send a bold message” to Trump’s administration “that we will not accept attacks on the rights we have already gained,” it said.
 
Speaking to The Local, Karen Olson, one of the organizers of the Geneva march, said she hoped 600-700 people would turn up to Switzerland’s only permitted march in Geneva, which starts at the Jardin d’Anglais at 11am.
 
“The reasons people are marching in Washington are just as salient in Geneva or in any European [city],” she said. 
 
“It’s about our attachment to women’s rights as human rights. Women acting as catalysts, feeling newly vulnerable in this environment, whether it’s under a Trump administration in the US or under the electoral power of populist candidates across Europe.”
 
The event isn’t only aimed at women; men are just as welcome, and many women will march with their partners and children. “We are asking everyone to come out with women who are feeling newly empowered and almost called upon by the potential movement rightwards and the potential encroachment on the rights we fought to have for decades,” said Olson.
 
Though created initially as a one-off event, Olson said the Geneva march could spell the beginning of a movement with a future life, and a further event is already planned for International Women’s Day, March 8th.
 
“There’s certainly an awareness that we are building something, but it’s a grassroots movement so it will have to be defined by the people in the movement themselves,” she said.
 
Anyone wishing to attend the Geneva Women’s March for Dignity is invited to sign up online here
 
 
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