Savita Halappanavar death row: Thousands rally in Ireland

Savita Halappanavar

Thousands of people, upset over the tragic death of an Indian dentist, have held rallies and candle light vigils across Ireland demanding changes in the country's draconian abortion laws.

"No more tragedies", the placards of the protesters read in Dublin and Galway as they demanded the change in laws.

Savita Halappanavar, 31, died in an Irish hospital last month after doctors refused to terminate her pregnancy despite telling her that she was miscarrying.

She died of blood poisoning after spending three days in pain and agony.

The rally in Dublin yesterday saw large crowds march from the Garden of Remembrance at Parnell Square to Leinster House, where a candle-lit vigil and one minute silence was held, state broadcaster RTE News reported.

Irish police said over 6,000 people took part in the march, however organisers said the attendance figure was significantly higher.

Meanwhile, up to 1,000 people took part in a vigil for Halappanavar in Eyre Square in Galway, where a one minute silence was held in her memory at 5:20pm (local time) yesterday.

Earlier about 60 members of the Indian community gathered outside University Hospital Galway and held two minutes of silent prayer for her.

Events were also held in Ennis, Clonakility, Letterkenny, Kilkenny, Sligo, Limerick and Carlow while a vigil took place at the Irish embassy in London.

Ireland had said it will not be rushed into an immediate decision on right to abortion even as it assured India that an independent medical professional will assist the enquiry into the death of Halappanavar.

Indian Ambassador to Ireland Debashish Chakravarti had met Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore to convey the deep "concern" of Indian government at the tragic death of Halappanavar.

Expressing the hope that steps would be taken so as not to allow such an incident to recur, the Ambassador had also conveyed India's desire for an independent enquiry into the matter. He also requested to be kept updated about progress.

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