Taking back the streets: 5000 march to end violence against women

Thousands turned out to march on the streets of Govanhill early today in a bid to end violence against women.

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Almost 5,000 protestors walked through the South Side community to hit back at a spate of recent rapes across the city.

Organisers Ashley Crossan and Amanda Johnston said they were "overwhelmed" by the turn-out.

Ashley said: "We are overwhelmed. Completely overwhelmed. But not surprised.

"The feedback we have had has been fantastic and we knew that we would get support tonight.

"It is amazing to see everyone though. Our message is that we want to take back the streets for women."

The march was organised by Ashley and Amanda, who both live in the community and want to see improvements made.

Last night the two women led thousands of people down Victoria Road from the gates of Queen's Park to "reclaim" the streets.

Men and women, young and old, walked from the gates of Queen's Park and around Govanhill, including along the notorious Allison Street.

Pink ribbons were tied to the gates of the park and candles were lit at the entrance.

At midnight a 10-second countdown was held before cheers rang out and protesters began to walk.

So many attended the march that they spilled over from the pavements on to the road while residents waved from windows.

Angela Duffy, 32, and her daughter Nicole Crossan, who turned 16 at midnight, came out to march.

Angela, from Castlemilk, said: "I used to live in Govanhill and I work here still and I never feel safe.

"I have seen the area become worse and worse then you learn about these rapes. I never walk alone here, even though I work during the day.

"If I can't get a lift then I get a taxi and I don't allow my daughter to walk the streets by herself.

"This event is important because we need to say to people that enough is enough."

Ashley, 28, and Amanda, 25, set up the Facebook page These Streets Were Made For Walking in response to attacks in the South Side.

A 24-year-old woman was attacked by two men in Dixon Road last month. The rape followed a sexual assault in Dixon Avenue in February.

Also last month a 33-year-old woman was gang-raped by a group of Asian men on Edinbeg Avenue in nearby Toryglen.

Around 5000 people - men and women - indicated on social media that they would attend this morning's rally.

Police confirmed that number did attend. It was a peaceful protest. Banners and chanting were not allowed but some got around the rules by writing slogans on their chest.

Colm Tobin, 42, came out to march with his daughter and niece.

Colm, from Maryhill, said: "I'm pleased to see other men here. It's vital that everyone - men and women - speak out against the behaviour of a minority that cause a major amount of damage to lives.

"It's a night where you can be proud of Glasgow seeing all these people out here and working together, peacefully. This is one of these events that has just snowballed and I'm proud to be taking part.

"My young daughter here with me is 12 and I want the streets to be safe for her for when she's old enough to be out walking by herself.

"Maybe that's impossible but we've got to give it a try, don't we?"

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