Irish abortion laws: Protests held across the world

image copyrightEPA
image captionProtestors marched across many European cities

Thousands of people have marched across Dublin and 20 other world cities to protest against Ireland's strict abortion laws.

Protesters are calling for a referendum to repeal the laws in the mainly Catholic country.

Across Twitter #repealthe8th hashtag was popular among supporters, referring to the 8th amendment of the Irish constitution that forbids abortion.

Abortion is only legal in Ireland if the mother's life it at risk.

image copyrightReuters
image captionDemonstrations brought traffic to a standstill in Dublin

Marching in the rain, protesters in Dublin chanted, "My body, my choice".

Sal Roche, a 42-year-old dance teacher participating in the march, told Reuters news agency: "It's a woman's right to choose and it is ridiculous to say that anybody else, the state or the Church, has the right to tell that woman what happens to her body."

The Irish diaspora organised support for the movement across world cities including Berlin, Melbourne, and London.

Irish comedian Graham Linehan tweeted in support of the demonstrations.

image copyright@Glinner
image copyrightReuters
image captionOpponents of the protest say the mother and the unborn child have an equal right to life

Abortion has been a contentious issue in Ireland with people protesting on both sides of the debate. A total ban on the practice was removed in 2013.

Opponents say the 8th constitutional amendment protects a mother's and an unborn child's equal right to life.

Next month Prime Minister Enda Kenny will hold a citizens' assembly to discuss whether a vote should take place to change the abortion laws.

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