Pro-choice campaigners make 200,000 chalk marks outside Irish embassy as part of London rally

Protesters drew more than 200,000 white marks outside the Irish embassy in London to represent the number of women who travelled to the UK from the country for an abortion.

The pro-choice campaigners attempted to make more than 205,700 marks in chalk to show how many have made the trip to Great Britain from Ireland for a safe abortion since 1983.

It comes as hundreds descended on the capital to call for change to the country’s strict abortion laws ahead of its referendum next year.

Hundreds of demonstrators joined together outside the Irish Embassy in Belgravia, chanting “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries” and “34 years since 83, stop sending women across the sea”.

Pro-choice Campaigners Gather In London To Call For A Change to Ireland’s Strict Abortion Law

Placards among the crowd carried messages including: “Healthcare not Ryanair”, and: “Irish women deserve better”.

The efforts of pro-choice and anti-abortion advocates are set to intensify now that a time frame for the vote has been set.

The London-Irish Abortion Rights campaigners mark over 200,000 tally marks in chalk representing the number of Irish women who have travelled to England for abortions (PA)

But Maeve O’Reilly, of the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign, said protesters would like to see a specific date set for the referendum.

She added: “I do think the conversations have been shifting a lot over the last few years and there is a conversation now, whereas a few years ago it wasn’t really in the public domain and it wasn’t on the agenda.”

She said campaigners were encouraged by recent polls which she said have shown that “most Irish people want to see a liberalisation of Irish abortion laws”.

Hundreds descend on London calling for Irish abortion law changes

The campaigner added: “We’re really confident that the Irish public will engage with this issue, will have a good debate and people will begin to see that abortion is already happening. It’s just not happening in Ireland.

“And the time has come to kind of wake up to that and do better for our women and offer this care at home, rather than exiling them to other countries.”

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