HUNDREDS of Muslims marched through the streets of Newport city centre today to commemorate the martyrdom of a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.

In a solemn but powerful expression of remembrance, banners flew, and the progress of the march was halted regularly as a number of the participants chanted whilst beating their chests with their hands.

The march marks Ashura - a religious observance for Muslims all over the world - which means tenth, and it happens on the 10th day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar.

It commemorates Imam Hussain, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, who was slain with 72 members of his family and companions by the forces of the tyrant Yazid, more than 1,300 years ago at Karbala, in Iraq.

South Wales Argus: South Wales Argus:

Scenes from the Ashura march in Newport. Pictures -

This was the 37th Ashura march to take place in Newport, and people came from across south Wales and the west of England to take part.

The march began on Hill Street, outside the mosque of its organisers the Islamic Society for Wales, before moving slowly along Commercial Street, up Stow Hill, before returning to the mosque through Victoria Place.

As the participants entered Commercial Street, marshals handed out bottles of water to shoppers and bystanders, and explained the meaning of the event.

South Wales Argus:

Picture -

A key part of this involved handing out a leaflet which explains the significance of the day in Islamic history, and the role of Imam Hussain in standing up to oppression.

It quotes his response to the demands he faced - "death with dignity is greater than life with humiliation" - that has inspired the likes of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, and seeks to explain his legacy in standing up against oppression and in seeking to defend justice, freedom, equality and human dignity.

South Wales Argus:

Picture -

Men, women, and children took part in the event, which also involved a horse, covered with a sheet peppered with fake arrows and daubed in red to represent the blood spilled by Imam Hussain, his family and companions.