Hundreds of people have taken part in a march to raise awareness of violence against women.
The Newcastle event was organised by Northern TUC to mark the Reclaim the Night movement’s reintroduction to the city a decade ago.
Organisers said the march was “as important as ever” in the light of recent sexual harassment allegations.Women’s forum chair Pat Heron said it was “vital that women need to be able to feel safe when they’re out.The event, which organisers said attracted up to a thousand people, was aiming “to say to women – we are with you”.
On the 40th anniversary year of the order for women in Yorkshire to stay at home to be safe during the Ripper murders, Saturday’s march also came at a time of increased awareness of sexual harassment in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
Placards held by attendees included apparent references to the topic, including one which read: “My personal space is by invitation only.”
A samba band played alongside those marching, providing a deafening roar and provoking many passersby to stop in their tracks to watch on.
The annual march is organised by the London Feminist Network. Speakers at a later rally included Labour MP Stella Creasy and Nimco Ali of the Women’s Equality Party.
Organiser Erin Mansell said: “I cannot describe to you the feeling of marching alongside a thousand women at night, taking over the streets of central London.
“The noise, the defiance, the joy and the noise! Yes, there are divisions between us as women; areas of disagreement and power imbalances between us that we need to keep talking and listening about.
“Tonight we reach for solidarity with each other across those divisions, without denying them. And we say to every woman – we are with you. Shout it with me, ‘Women, united, will never be defeated’.”
Reclaim the Night marches will be held across the country, for information including a list of timings, sister marches and speakers.
Nearly half a million adults are sexually assaulted in England and Wales each year.
One in 5 women aged 16 – 59 has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16.
Approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped in England and Wales alone every year which works out at around 11 adult rapes every hour.
TUC research in 2016 found that over half of working women had experienced some form of sexual harassment and nearly two thirds of women aged 18-24 had experienced some form of sexual harassment.