Marchers in support of abducted schoolgirls

KELLY TEED
Last updated 13:18 20/05/2014

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Aucklanders marched today to show support for the abducted Nigerian schoolgirls.

The social media #BringBackOurGirls campaign has gained rapid support around the globe. It is demanding the return of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls who were abducted by radical Islamic group Boko Haram last month.

Rally organiser Lydia Hollister-Jones said she organised the march because it was such an urgent situation.

"I think the real question is why wouldn't you - we have the power to do something and it's such an urgent situation," Hollister-Jones said.

"A walk is a practical thing that we can do to raise awareness for this - showing people that New Zealanders do care.

"If you can do something in a situation like this you absolutely have to do something."

Despite the cynicism of social media campaigns, it was better to do something than nothing, Hollister-Jones said.

She hoped the march would add to the public pressure on the Nigerian Government.

Ryan Shillito, 20, marched in the protest up Auckland's Queen St and said it was exciting to be helping out with such an important cause.

Ben Webber, 19, agreed ."I think you've got to try and make a difference somehow. You've got to start somewhere."

Amnesty International executive director Grant Bayldon said: "It's important for people to be able to speak out against what's happened to these girls in Nigeria, partly because of inaction from the Nigerian Government.

"We've seen that the Nigerian Government has only just started to take action after the world has stood up."

Marches have taken place around the world to draw attention to the girls' plight.

Other New Zealand rallies have been held in Wellington and Christchurch.

The #BringBackOurGirls campaign has gone viral with supporters such as Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton using the hashtag.

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