At 7pm on February 23rd, the streets of Manchester were reclaimed by over 2,000 protesters.
Campaigners adorned with signs, chants and colourful clothes lead a procession from Owen’s Park student accommodation in Fallowfield, to the University of Manchester’s Students Union.
The predominantly female march, closed down half of Oxford Road, and then culminated in a rally at the Student Union. With guest speakers, and inspirational messages of hope.
After a spate of sexual assaults in Fallowfield around four years ago, the event has gained notoriety and popularity with not only the students of Manchester, but the local residents.
While the campaigners were mostly students, the march did not discriminate against men, members of the LGBT community or families.
With an increase in attacks on students in the past few months, this march has become a symbol and a beacon of hope for many. The whole idea behind the Reclaim the Night march is to take back the streets, to feel safe walking home alone, to eradicate victim blaming, and to make people aware of the struggles being faced by many.
Student activism surrounding the topic of sexual violence has soared in the past few years, with the march being one of the safe spaces to share opinions, and to stand together.
I spoke to one of the event organisers Mia Shepherd from the MMU Feminist Society, about the event and her views on the protest, and what more could be done be the universities and the police to promote safety.
Reclaim the Night begin in 1977, when the Yorkshire Ripper was still active; and as a response to the curfew implemented by the police, which stated that women should not be out at night.