Last Saturday hundreds of women took the streets of Soho, London, to demonstrate against sexual violence. You can view a flickR set of the night's pictures here.
The first march took place in 1977, and has been organised by the London Feminist Network since 2004. It reportedly had 1200 participants last year. Lacking the ability to accurately count the number of people in a crowd I wouldn't dare estimate how many women demonstrated this year, but the result was impressive (the streets surrounding Trafalgar Square and Soho were temporarily closed, dozens of police officers escorted the participants and dozens of curious bystanders took pictures with their cell phones).
Many NGOs were present at the march: amongst them were the London-based Woman's Trust (working for women affected by domestic violence), the Fawcett Society (of which this blog's host, Zohra Moosa, is currently a Policy Officer), the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights organisation and the ICAHK, which works to eradicate honour killings.
I talked to Anne Quesney, director of Abortion Rights, whose organisation routinely supports the Reclaim the Night march. Abortion Rights works to knock down the obstructions which are currently in the way of reproductive choices, which in itself in a form of violence against women: only they experience a lack of access to a medical field aimed to their health and well being.
The night was incredibly energising for all organisations and individuals involved, and all done in good spirits. I spotted many passers by clapping in approval and giving the participants thumbs up from their balconies, which was particularly uplifting (and here I should also mention the elderly lady who used her metalic kitchen utensils to make as much noise as possible from her flat terrace).
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