This year’s Reclaim the Night saw around 1000 students marching from Fallowfield to the Students’ Union in protest of gender-based violence. Speeches made highlighted the damage of gender-based violence, the need for intersectionality and calls for international solidarity.
On the evening of November 30, Oxford Road erupted into chants. Onlookers cheered and beeped car horns as protestors chanted “Whose streets? Our streets” and “Stop the violence, stop the hate” in calls to end gender-based violence.
Students marched down towards the Students’ Union to hear speeches given by several members who had helped organise the march.
Celina Pereira, the Students’ Union’s Wellbeing and Liberation Officer, spoke first. She said, “we are standing here for all those who have been robbed of their bodies, their rights and their lives.” She made calls for people to, “recognise sexual violence and call it by its name.”
Speakers emphasised the need for intersectionality when speaking about gender-based violence. They presented the struggles faced by trans people: “trans people especially are more likely than not to experience sexual assault, yet most sexual health services are strictly gendered”. Studies show that 47% of trans people are subject to sexual assault.
Following this Laya Hooshyari spoke about the need for international solidarity within feminist movements. She presented the oppression of women globally and called for “solidarity and help from our sisters, comrades and all people” declaring that “without international solidarity we are alone”.
She ended her speech, saying “we have to raise our voice. Our voice should be reached to all the oppressed. Should be heard on every street. So that we are all emancipated from oppression”.
Bev Craig, leader of Manchester City Council, delivered the final speech, emphasising the need for change. “We cannot in five, 10, or 20 years time be stood here having the same conversations”.