Australia

'What do we want? Safe streets': Thousands rally for Sydney Women's March

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Several thousand people have marched through Sydney's streets, demanding they be made safe for women following the murder of an international student.

Men, women and children of all ages have marched through the streets of Sydney to demand they be made safe for women following the murder of an international student in Melbourne.

Chanting "What do we want? Safe streets. When do we want them? Now," thousands walked from Hyde Park to Belmore Park on Sunday as part of the Women's March rallies being held around the world.

Several held signs paying tribute to Aiia Maasarwe, whose body was found in Melbourne on Wednesday morning.

The death of 21-year-old Aiia Maasarwe hung soberly over the event.
The death of 21-year-old Aiia Maasarwe hung soberly over the event.
Maani Truu/SBS News

Author and sexual assault survivor Bri Lee said Ms Maassarwe's death reminded her of how difficult it was to provide strategies to combat such incidents when you were just focused on surviving.

"It is so, so hard to keep an olive branch in the palm of your hand when you need your keys between your fingers," Ms Lee told the crowd.

Presenter and campaigner Yumi Styles said Australia's culture of violence against women was a crisis.

"It's rooted in a widespread cultural acceptance that the values, the roles and the rights of women are lesser than those of men," Ms Styles told the crowd.

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The women's march in Los Angeles.
The women's march in Los Angeles.

"Women have the right to be safe. To claim our space, to be respected and to have our voices heard."

Claire Hocking, who attended the rally with her husband and their two children, said she wanted her two-year-old daughter Maya to know women's rights were important.

This is the third women's march for Maya, and the first for three-month-old Franklin.

"She's our future and he's our future, he's a man of tomorrow," Ms Hocking told AAP.

Ms Hocking said she marched for equality, "making sure (Maya) has every opportunity that my husband did or my son will have".

And when it comes to fairy tales and Disney stories "where the man always comes in to save her, I want her to know she doesn't need a man to save her, she can be the dragon," Ms Hocking said.

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Women demand an end to violence and inequality in rallies across US.
Women demand an end to violence and inequality in rallies across US.

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