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Thousands gather to protest the practice of spiking.

Thousands gather to protest the practice of spiking. Photp: Karen Buckley / Counterfire

Thousands come out to protest against the continuous attack no women on and off the streets, Karen Buckley reports

Wednesday saw a huge and passionate march and protest in Manchester against spiking. The crowd was mainly young people and at the start (before the march) also included Greater Manchester mayor, Andy Burnham.

Whilst acknowledging that men get spiked too, everyone acknowledged it’s a much bigger problem for women. Not only this, but it’s a continuation of the systemic history of violence, abuse and assault towards women that’s been in place for a very long time.

Many women spoke of feeling unsafe. From being scared to walk down the street after dark or in quiet places to fears of being spiked by strangers or acquaintances at nightclubs or parties, and being raped and assaulted.

Women were angry at being victim-blamed, ignored and silenced. They spoke of nightclubs owners, staff, police and those in power ignoring the issue and saying there’s nothing they can do.

Not surprisingly there were many passionate calls for tangible action from the government, the mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, nightclub owners and pub managers.

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The large gathering cam in solidarity with the victims of this crime and marched through Manchester

The demands and practical actions are encapsulated well in an open letter to Andy Burnham (referred to by speakers).

It was great to see so many women not being silenced tonight (as well as the many men there offering solidarity and support). As many said,  this is just the beginning and protests will continue till spiking is stopped and we get strong decisive action from our leaders.

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