VIENNA — They are fixtures at the antigovernment protests every Thursday night in the Austrian capital, older women wearing hand-knit hats in purples, reds and blues. They like to march between the shouting students and the masked anti-fascists, waving to onlookers and hoping to catch someone’s eye long enough to exchange a smile.
“It’s the Grannies!” shouted a voice from a third-story window as the demonstration wound its way through Vienna’s Fifth District last month. “Look! The Grannies!”
They are the Grannies Against the Right, dozens of women from a generation that watched their mothers suffer the fallout of World War II and helped create democracy in Austria.
Now, freed from the burdens of raising their families and working to support them, they are galvanizing protests against Austria’s shift to the right under the conservative-nationalist government of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.