Australian rallies demand safe streets for women after Palestinian student murder
Aiia Maasarwe was killed while walking home after a night out with friends in Melbourne
Several thousand people marched through Australian cities on Sunday, calling for safety for women after a Palestinian exchange student from Israel was murdered in Melbourne.
Aiia Maasarwe, 21, was killed while walking home after a night out with friends in Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, last week.
She was speaking to her sister on the phone when she was attacked while on her way home from a comedy show.
A man, 20, was charged with her murder on Saturday.
Sunday's marches, part of the Women’s March rallies held around the world, attracted about 3,000 people in Sydney.
The demonstrators demanded safe streets for women.
Maasarwe’s death brought back memories of the murder of Eurydice Dixon, 22, killed while walking home after performing at a comedy show in Melbourne in June.
Thousands of people dressed in black gathered at vigils for Maasarwe on Friday. They filled the No 86 tram, which she was believed to have ridden on her way home, with red roses – her favourite flowers.
Her father Saeed broke down at the crime scene, where dozens of flowers and messages from the public were left nearby in support.
In Sydney on Sunday, marchers held signs paying tribute to Maasarwe and other victims of violence.
Women carried signs reading “For Aiia and for those who suffer silently” and “I wanna walk through the park in the dark”.
Other campaigners held banners with the words “I’m here for Aiia” and “Stop violence against women”.
“I don’t want my daughter to grow up in a world where she’s unsafe or she can’t pursue the opportunities she wants and I march for my son because I don’t want him to grow up in a world where toxic masculinity is acceptable,” said Samantha Nolan-Smith,
Ms Nolan-Smith was one of several hundred protesters in the Australian capital Canberra, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
“I’m marching for the women who can’t,” she said.
“I’m thinking particularly of the death that happened [last week] and so many other women who have suffered from violence and who are dead.”
In response to Maasarwe’s death, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government would announce another action plan to stem violence against women, in addition to A$350 million (Dh921.4m) that had already been committed.
Updated: January 20, 2019 09:35 PM