The drums, the whistles, the chanting, the sea of red banners... Women marching down the centre of Oxford Street on a busy Saturday afternoon to mark International Women's Day... Bemused (and sometimes supportive) shoppers and workers looking on - including a standing ovation from the Toni & Guy hairdressers... Women's organisations coming together in solidarity from across the country... Together we can end male violence against women...
The sun shone on this year's Million Women Rise march and the atmosphere reflected that - friendly, together, positive - despite the serious messages and placards. There was a real sense of reclaiming space from the shoppers, mannequins and advertising slogans as we marched through Oxford Street and Regent Street.
The atmosphere became more sombre at the rally following the march, where people gathered to listen to inspiring and moving speakers. Some told incredibly moving tales of survival and recovery, others read messages of solidarity from across the world, still others recounted the horrific violations of women taking place in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sri Lanka.
Anna from Object spoke about their actions to combat the increasing objectification of women, a speaker from the Women's Institute spoke about domestic violence and the fact that rural women often bear the brunt of the postcode lottery in violence services, and Ruth Bashall spoke about the abuses perpetrated against disabled women worldwide and the solidarity and strength they provide to each other. All the speeches were translated by the indefatigable sign language interpreter.
For a great sense of the march, see this fantastic video by warriorgrrl. See our pictures here and some other fantastic pictures by Jess McCabe here.
One woman. One body. One song. One love.
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