Tens of thousands of protest marchers took to the streets of Dublin yesterday in what turned out to be one of the biggest pro-choice rallies to have ever taken place in Ireland.

The mass demonstration, organised by the Abortion Rights Campaign, coincided with the annual Global Day of Action for Safe and Legal Abortion.

Parallel marches were staged across the globe in cities including New York, San Francisco, Toronto, London, Paris, Berlin, Brussels and Belgium, as pro-choice campaigners amongst the Irish diaspora added their voices to the call for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

Despite heavy rain throughout the day in the Irish capital, coupled with major disruption triggered by the ongoing Dublin Bus strike, observers said the numbers who took part in the Dublin rally exceeded 20,000.

The theme of yesterday's march - the fifth annual protest by the Abortion Rights Campaign [ARC] and the largest to date - was 'Rise and Repeal', a comment on what pro-choice advocates maintain is the failure of the Republic to live up to the ideals of equality set out in the 1916 Proclamation.

According to The Irish Times, the largely young crowd - who set off yesterday afternoon from Dublin's Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square - repeatedly shouted colourful chants, including 'Not the Church, not the State, women must decide their fate', 'Pro-life, that's a lie, you don't care if women die' and 'Get your rosaries off my ovaries'.

ARC spokesperson Linda Kavanagh said: "100 years on from the Easter Rising, the equality promised in the 1916 proclamation hasn't been realised.

"Women, trans men and non-binary people who may need to access abortion in Ireland, North and South, still don't have the right to choose.

"We cannot wait for another woman to die, for another woman to be kept alive artificially, for another woman to be force-fed and cut open against her will.

"Enough blood has been spilled, enough women have died. No more shame, no more silence, no more stigma. This is our Rising."

Campaigner Janet O'Sullivan said: "We are tired of the delay tactics being used by successive governments, who bury their heads in the sand, ignoring the urgent need and desire for change.

"We are tired of being told to wait - tired of being told we need a 'calm and measured debate', while our contributions to this debate and silenced or belittled."

The rally was attended by representatives from the 65 member organisations of the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment.

In an address to the crowd, popular Galway-born blues singer Mary Coughlan said: "I have been involved in many campaigns, and this is surely the most joyous of all to see so many of you here today.

"I'm a mother of five children, three daughters and two sons. I'm a grandmother of three children and another one on the way."