Gallery of the march in Dublin: Click here

Thousands took part in a silent march through the streets of Dublin on Wednesday to express their solidarity with those who were abused by Church-run institutions.

Many of those who marched were victims themselves, which made the protest even more poignant and the emotion even stronger. One marcher held a sign read “Cage the bastards.” 

The march congregated at Leinster House (the building where the Government meets in Dublin) and many protesters left children’s shoes at the entrance to the Dail (Parliament) as a symbol of lost innocence.

Once they arrived at Government, protesters delivered a petition to Sr. Marianne O’Connor, head of the Conference of Religious of Ireland, and Christian Brother Kevin Mullan that read: "We, the people of Ireland, join in solidarity and call for justice, accountability, restitution and repatriation for the unimaginable crimes committed against the children of our country by religious orders in 216 institutions."

Organizers of the march met with Minister for Children Barry Andrews and Taoiseach Brian Cowen afterwards. Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny met with marchers outside the Dail earlier in the day.

President Mary McAleese plans to meet 250 abuse victims on June 28, and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who could not attend the march because he was attending the Irish Bishops conference in Maynooth, said he and other bishops want to meet survivors to see how they help.