Hundreds Gather In Melbourne To Hold Silent Vigil For Aiia Maasarwe

Aaie Maarsarwe

Hundreds, clad in black, have gathered on the steps of Victorian parliament on Friday evening to remember 21-year-old Aiia Maasarwe, who was killed on her way home from a comedy gig on Tuesday night.

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Maasarwe, an exchange student from Baqa al-GharbiyyeIsrael, has been remembered as “the kindest girl”.

The Palestinian student was travelling home on the route 86 tram when she was allegedly assaulted and murdered. Her body was found near a car park entrance on Wednesday morning.

‘Silent Vigil’ – from 6pm to 8pm – is being held in complete silence with no speakers or music.

“This Friday evening a group of us will be keeping silent vigil on the steps of Parliament, in solidarity with all those who have lost their loved ones, to honour the lives of women and children so brutally ended by male violence, to show our fury and strength and determination for change. All are welcome to join us,” the event reads on Facebook.

The vigil will extend to a “Flower Only” route 86 tram which will be filled with red roses – Maasarwe’s favourite. The tram will depart from Parliament Station and travel to Bundoora, where her body was found.

Earlier today, a silent vigil was held at the Bundoora campus of Latrobe University where Maasarwe had been studying.

Staff and students including the university’s Vice-Chancellor John Dewar lit candles in tribute.

On social media, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews issued a statement calling for change.

“Nothing will change until we change, too. Until we stop blaming ‘bad men’ – while ignoring the sexist attitudes in our society that created them. Until we recognise that while not disrespectful behaviour towards women leads to violence, all violence towards woman starts with disrespect.” 

Andrews sent his “deepest condolences” to Maasarwe’s family.

“She should have been safe here. And I am heartbroken she wasn’t.” 

A 20-year-old man has been arrested by Victoria Police in connection to Maasarwe’s murder.