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Women across India march to demand safety in public spaces

NEW DELHI/CHENNAI Hundreds of women gathered in over 30 towns and cities across India late on Saturday, saying they were "occupying the night streets" to demand safety in public spaces.

This came after reports of the mass molestation of women in Bengaluru city, in the south of the country, on New Year's Eve.

From the capital New Delhi to Kolkata in the east, Chennai in the south and Mumbai in the west, activists, students, and professionals gathered at marches and street plays or sang songs and recited poetry on equality for women.

The participants, which also included many men, chanted slogans such as "Freedom, Freedom, Freedom!" and held banners saying "Take back the night. Break the silence. End the violence" and "Nobody asks what my molester was wearing."

"Since the age of 12, I have never felt comfortable or safe on the streets - day or night, but first time I have ever attended a march like this ," said Ms Anuradha Sinha, 37, a program manager at an e-commerce company.

"I have a three-year-old daughter and given the situation we face today, I don't want my daughter to grow up and endure what we have to go through every day. It has to change."

The campaign in India was launched this month after reports of sexual assaults during celebrations on Dec 31 in Bengaluru, where several women were allegedly groped and assaulted by a mob in the city's central business district. - REUTERS

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