Women march for safe streets after murder of Israeli student

Publish: 11:21 AM, January 20, 2019 | Update: 11:21:AM, January 20, 2019

SYDNEY  – Thousands of protesters have marched in Australia calling for an end to violence against women, days after the murder of an Israeli student in Melbourne.

Demonstrators called for streets to be made safe for women after the body of 21-year-old Aiia Maasarwe was found in bushes near a tram stop on Wednesday.

Maasarwe was speaking to her sister on the phone when she was attacked while on her way home from a comedy show. The weekend rallies — held in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra — are part of the Women’s March campaign, first held in January 2017 in the United States and around the world.

During Sunday’s march, campaigners held banners with the words “I’m here for Aiia” and “stop violence against women”. “I’m marching for the women who can’t,” protester Samantha Nolan-Smith told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation at the rally in the nation’s capital Canberra.

“I’m thinking particularly of the death that happened this week and so many other women who have suffered from violence and who are dead.” A 20-year-old man was charged with Maasarwe’s murder on Saturday. Thousands of women joined demonstrations worldwide, though turnout appeared far short of marches in earlier years.