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2,500 attend Manchester’s 2017 Reclaim the Night march

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By Ruth Hudson
Film by Meliza Sestito
Photography: Ruth Hudson & Joanna Shaw

2,500 protesters recently took to the streets of Manchester for the 2017 Reclaim the Night march. Families, students and members of the local community gathered together to show their support for women, demand safer streets and raise their voices against sexual violence.

Leader of the march and University of Manchester’s Women’s Officer Jenni Smyth said how pleased she was with the turnout, given storm Doris was at its peak: “To begin with, it was mayhem with speakers not coming down and stewards cancelling on the day. I am pleased in spite of it all. Normally the rally hasn’t involved speakers but, this year, we wanted to move the rally to a different point. There were families there and it was a nice idea to have a couple of speakers.”

Jenni closed the rally with the two youngest feminists attending, encouraging them to chant, “Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the hate.”

Chair of the Manchester Met Feminist Society Mia Shepard also shared her experience of the night: “I march because it is the best form of action. Lots of people prefer online activism and, sometimes, so do I. But, for an event like this, to be able to walk the streets you wouldn’t feel safe walking alone, there’s something empowering about what the march is able to provide.

She added, “The march was a huge success, it was amazing to see everyone walking together in solidarity and unity in order to reclaim our streets and continue to combat sexual assault, harassment and street violence. There was an amazing atmosphere and it felt wonderful.”

Attending the march for the first time, MA multimedia journalism student Joanna Shaw explained how she felt drawn to the protest: “I believe that the way most rape victims are treated is shocking, and things really need to change. We are showing solidarity, and openly campaigning to make the streets safer for everyone.”

Reclaim the Night 2017 gallery

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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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