Thousands take to the streets for Vancouver Women’s March

Thousands take part in Vancouver Women’s March
WATCH: Women around the world rallied today to call for change, and to express their anger. Jill Bennett reports from Vancouver, where thousands took part.

Grey skies and rain weren’t enough to stop thousands of people from taking to Vancouver’s streets for the March On Vancouver.

The event, which began at Jack Poole Plaza at 10 a.m., was Vancouver’s contribution to women’s marches taking place around the world on Saturday.

READ MORE: Photo Gallery: Across Canada, women march in solidarity

Noor Fadel, the 18-year-old woman who was the target of an alleged racially motivated sexual assault on the Canada Line in December was among those speaking to the crowd.

“I wanted to speak up still because if I don’t, who will? Right? I can’t keep waiting around for someone to take action,” she said.

“I have to start it myself and hopefully others will follow. I want it to inspire women. I want it to inspire everyone to just be able to speak up when something like that happens, because it does happen.”

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Fadel said she forgives the alleged attacker, but wants to see society’s views on women’s equality change.

Event organizer Samantha Monckton said Saturday’s march wasn’t just about standing in solidarity and speaking out against sexual assault, but also encouraging women to take on big roles in their communities.

READ MORE: Across the U.S., a march for female power

“We’ve got an election here in B.C. coming up in the fall, and there’s a lot of opportunity for women to say, ‘You know, maybe I can do it.’ That would be so empowering, if we elected some new faces. People who never thought of it before, but who were deeply connected in the communities and loved our communities, and it would be great to see them deserving of those roles.”

Monckton said the march is for everyone, and wants to see new allies step up, including men who say “I support these women.”

She said, for example, like her own husband.

READ MORE: Vancouver Women’s March draws thousands

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“He’s there to show support, and also be a voice in his office and in interactions with women.”

Monckton said she expects new generations to show up that didn’t participate in last year’s march.