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Australians protest gender violence after knife attack

April 27, 2024

Australians are calling for an end to violence against women after a recent knife attack in Sydney left five women dead. Australian Labor Party PM Anthony Albanese endorsed the rallies.

Australians take part in a national rally against violence towards women in Sydney on April 27, 2024
Australians are urging their government to do more to combat gender-based violenceImage: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Australians marched across the country, including in the cities of Sydney and Adelaide, on Saturday, urging an end to violence against women.

The demonstrations came after a recent stabbing attack at the Bondi Junction mall in Sydney left six people dead, including five women. In addition, Australian actor Orpheus Pledger on Thursday was arrested after a three-day manhunt on charges of assaulting a woman. 

Knife attacker kills six people in Sydney mall

What's happening during the protests?    

Protesters in Australian cities held signs with slogans such as "Respect," and "Stop Violence Against Women."

In Sydney, around 3,000 people were estimated to have gathered at the city's parliament building. 

The demonstrators called for tougher laws to punish those who engage in acts of violence towards women. 

A man holds a placard at the national rally against violence towards women in Sydney on April 27, 2024
The rallies in Australia were attended by both women and men of all ages Image: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Greens Party Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said in Adelaide that a "national emergency response" was necessary to combat gender-based violence in Australia.

"Women are sick and tired of being told, 'Yes, it's bad, but there's not much we can do,'" Hanson-Young said via her spokesperson.   

The Australian advocacy organization "What Were You Wearing" has urged three days of demonstrations from Friday to Sunday.

"Enough is enough," the group said on its website, pointing out that 29 women had been killed by violent men in 2024. 

In addition to Sydney and Adelaide, marches were also expected to take place in other major Australian cities such as Melbourne and Brisbane.  

PM Albanese backs rallies: 'We must do better'    

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who belongs to the center-left Labor Party, threw his support behind the rallies and said he would take part in the marches on Sunday. 

"I will walk with women across Australia to say enough is enough," Albanese said on X, formerly known as Twitter. "Violence against women is an epidemic. We must do better."  

Albanese said that a woman has been killed every four days so far this year.  

In 2021, Australians marched in over 40 cities and towns against sexual violence and gender inequality amid several rape scandals regarding male officials in public office.

Protesters at that time refused to speak with conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison in a "closed door" meeting at the Parliament House in Canberra.

Morrison gave the organizers of the Women's March 4 Justice protest rally the option to meet privately after he declined to attend their protests in the capital, citing his busy schedule. 

wd/sms (Reuters, AFP)