The streets of Wellington turned black today as hundreds of students gathered to march against sexual violence and harassment in the workplace.

Dressed in black and wearing paint on their faces and arms, 300 to 400 students and supporters marched from Victoria University's law school to Midland Park, outside the Russell McVeagh law office, chanting and waving signs.

The march was sparked by news of sexual assault allegations at Russell McVeagh.

Read more: School debating competition drops law firm Russell McVeagh after sexual harassment scandal

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Before the march, Alex Moore, who is in her final year studying law, said she was passionate about gender politics in New Zealand, and felt the legal profession had been "dragging behind" the rest of the country.

"It's kind of an old boys' club," she said.

Moore said the work environment she was about to go into was "scary".

Alex Moore is in her final year studying law. Photo / Melissa Nightingale
Alex Moore is in her final year studying law. Photo / Melissa Nightingale

"I feel personally quite angry. I've worked really hard and I know a lot of women who have worked really hard ... I feel really angry that we're treated differently.

"I just want equality, really."

Chants of "students united will never be divided" and "Russell McVeagh, assaulting people's not okay," are ringing out from the growing crowd.

Cameron Milne said he wasn't a student but heard about the march through a friend.

He supported the protest for the "obvious reasons".

He wanted to see equality and acceptable behaviour in the workplace.

"This is not something new that's been happening, but hopefully we can put an end to it sometime soon."

Brighid Hurtubise and Daniel Simpson Beck carried signs at the march speaking out against sexism and gendered violence. Photo/Melissa Nightingale
Brighid Hurtubise and Daniel Simpson Beck carried signs at the march speaking out against sexism and gendered violence. Photo/Melissa Nightingale

Brighid Hurtubise and Daniel Simpson Beck were carrying signs saying "end all gendered violence," and "fight exploitation, fight sexism."

Hurtubise said people needed to be held accountable if change was to happen.

She said society needed to stop supporting institutions that abused their power.

Simpson Beck said part of the way sexism was exacerbated was by women's labour in the home not being recognised as work.

Police blocked cars from crossing Lambton Quay as the group walked down the middle of the street carrying banners and signs, repeating chants such as "students united will never be divided" and "Russell McVeagh, assaulting people's not okay."

Drivers honked their horns and members of the public stopped to watch as the wave of marchers passed by, pouring into Midland Park.

"We are louder and we are stronger together," declared one of the organisers over a megaphone. "To hurt one of us is to hurt all of us. We stand together. You are either with us or you are against us," she said to cheers and applause.

Marchers walked down the middle of Lambton Quay this afternoon. Photo/Melissa Nightingale
Marchers walked down the middle of Lambton Quay this afternoon. Photo/Melissa Nightingale

Yvette Tinsley, an associate professor at the university, told the crowd she was "thrilled" to see everyone at the march.

"As a researcher, as a lecturer, as a mother, and as one who has been in that position and has suffered from this stuff, I feel grateful," she said.

"We're on the edge of a historical moment for women and society.

"I just feel so inspired and thrilled that you guys are standing up and you're doing this.

"We've got a lot of faculty members here today supporting you, we do support you. We want you to be safe."

Employment lawyer Steph Dyhrberg, who worked at Russell McVeagh in the 90s, also spoke to the cheering crowd.

She told Newstalk ZB she did not experience any sexual harassment or violence while she was working at the firm, but did raise issues while there about a peer of hers being harassed.

She was unimpressed with the firm's response to the recent allegations, saying it was responding "like a corporate managing a PR situation" instead of sitting down with the complainants and addressing the issue.

Abusing power was "disgusting", she said.

"It really is like bullying, it's a power thing and it's about control, but also there's just a lot of opportunistic exploitation - 'I'm old and powerful, you're young and pretty, if I do something who's going to believe you even if you do speak up?'

"There should be a number of nervous men around, waiting to see if the axe is going to fall, and frankly I hope it does."