Anti-rape protesters take back the streets

Southside streets were packed with protesters last night (Monday) as These Streets Were Made for Walking went ahead in support of sexual assault and rape victims.

As reported in The Extra, the march was a response to a recent spate of sexual crimes across Glasgow, with organisers and Govanhill residents Amanda Johnston and Ashley Crossan commenting that they were “tired of harassment and fear of assault being part of our daily lives”.

Thousands left from Queen’s Park for the midnight march after lighting candles and leaving messages of support for victims of sexual crimes at the Victoria Road gates.

Today, the organisers vowed to write to Police Scotland, deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon and Glasgow city council leader Gordon Matheson, calling for answers to public safety concerns.

They said: “What an incredible night. Thank you to each and every one of the thousands of people who turned out to walk our streets, and the tens of thousands more who supported us online.

“Many people has asked us to organise something during the day so more people can be involved, and we hope to run a family day event in Queen’s Park later this summer.

“The walk was just the start. This does not end until our streets are safe.”

Extra readers were out in force, with Alison McHugh commenting on Twitter: “Govanhill has some big issues but good people, and needs more help. [The march] was peaceful, respectful — half women and half men, all ages, and even a six-week-old baby.”

Clare McAllister said: “I live in the area and want to feel that I can walk about safely at any time of the day or night without worrying about what might happen.

“I feel that sexual assault is the most cowardly and despicable kind of crime and it’s important to me that people stand up and say it is completely unacceptable that this is being allowed to happen with such regularity.”

Marion Coyle told The Extra: “There was an amazing amount of people there, of all ages.

“The most poignant of all was the fact that we were at Moira Jones’ home and the walk was taking place from Queen’s Park, where Moira was so brutally raped and murdered in 2008 — that touched me, and I couldn’t stop thinking of that beautiful young woman.”

Tania Eadie, from Govanhill, added: “It was a great march, and great to see men and women from all backgrounds walking together to make sure our streets are safe — next steps have got to be about ensuring accountability of police and elected members to take appropriate action to catch perps and help build communities where we can all live and work in safety.”

The march followed the rape of a 24-year-old woman in Govanhill on May 19 — police are still investigating, and have released CCTV footage of two men.

It also followed the gang rape of another woman in Toryglen on May 10, as well as sex attacks at Glasgow Green on April 19 and Kelvingrove Park on May 30.

Meanwhile, a 22-year-old man is expected to appear at Glasgow Sheriff Court tomorrow in connection with an alleged rape in the city centre on Sunday.