Protesters attend a rally against sexual violence and gender inequality in Australias capital city Canberra on March 15, 2021.
Protesters attend a rally against sexual violence and gender inequality in Australias capital city Canberra on March 15, 2021.
AFP

Thousands of Australians attended scores of March 4 Justice rallies as they demand action against violence, sexual discrimination, and the lack of federal government action on issues affecting women on Monday.

Protestors participated in more than 40 rallies, calling for an end to "sexism, misogyny, dangerous workplace cultures, and lack of equality" in politics and the community at large as part of the March4Justice as reported by Xinhua.

The movement, which organizers described as "the biggest uprising of women that Australia's seen," was established after former government adviser Brittany Higgins went public with allegations that she was raped in the Parliament House in 2019.

Attorney-General Christian Porter was accused of rape. The women have outlined shocking allegations, including sex without proper consent with intoxicated women, power imbalances, and forced kisses, in a private Facebook group for current and former Labor staffers.

"I truly believe by speaking up we can change this toxic culture,'' a woman wrote, cited Xinhua.

Higgins said she was speaking for the victims of sexual assault who could not, addressing the rally in Canberra. "One out of every five women in Australia will be sexually assaulted or raped in their lifetime. If you are a woman of colour, the statistics are even higher," she added."I was raped inside Parliament House by a colleague and for so long it felt like the people around me did not care about what happened because of what it might mean for them." "Suddenly, I was a political problem," Higgins further said.

Protesters attend a rally against sexual violence and gender inequality in Australias capital city Canberra on March 15, 2021.
Protesters attend a rally against sexual violence and gender inequality in Australias capital city Canberra on March 15, 2021.
AFP

Earlier on Monday, Janine Hendry, an organizer of the event turned down an invitation from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne to meet behind closed doors, Xinhua citing sources.

"There will be no meeting with the PM behind closed doors. We will be outside on the lawns today, and he can come to us if he chooses," a tweet read, on @march4justiceau (Twitter handle).

The prime speakers at the rally in Canberra are ACTU Secretary and outspoken political activist Sally McManus, Aboriginal research scholar Tjanara Goreng Goreng and Saxon Mullins. Rallies are also set to be held in all state's capital cities, including Wangaratta in Victoria and Lismore, Bega, and Byron Bay in New South Wales (NSW).

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