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WORLD | 08-03-2023 20:57

From Buenos Aires to Bangkok, women across world rally for gender equality

Women took to the streets across the world on Wednesday to mark International Women's Day and defend rights that are coming under increasing attack. In Buenos Aires, thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of the city centre to once again call for justice for cases of femicides and demand equal rights.

Women took to the streets across Argentina on Wednesday this International Women’s Day, with thousands of demonstrators filling public spaces in Buenos Aires to renew the call for justice in cases of femicide and demand equal rights, among other things.

"We march to transform patriarchal, classist, racist, corporate and anti-democratic justice; we march against illegitimate debt, for recognition of all jobs and for decent wages; we march to build connections that break the machista pact that condemns us to death inside and outside our homes," the Ni Una Menos collective, one of the organisers of rallies, communicated on social networks.

Banners raised by the demonstrators coloured the streets, reading "your violence made me scream for my freedom" and "we are the cry of those who no longer have a voice." Protestors demanded justice for Anahí Benítez, Lucía Pérez and other high-profile victims of gender violence in Argentina.

After a central rally in downtown Buenos Aires, beginning at 4pm, the march was divided on party lines, with one group heading towards the National Congress building and the other streaming towards the Plaza de Mayo. 

International Women's Day
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As part of the demonstrations in front of the National Congress by the Kirchnerite organisations, a group of women demonstrated against the alleged "ban" facing Vice-President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, a reference to the former president's corruption sentence last year.

Dressed in black and with their faces covered, the group stood outside Congress and held up signs with the word "proscription" branded on them. Fernández de Kirchner has been disqualified by the courts for life from holding public office for her alleged crimes, as well as being sentenced to six years in prison. Her conviction has not yet been confirmed by a higher court.

One demonstrators held a sign that read "CFK 2023" and in a video circulating on social networks, the group could be heard chanting: "Cristina corazón, acá tenés las pibas para la liberación" ("Cristina my heart, here are the girls for the liberation").

Blocks away at the Plaza de Mayo, leftist organisations called for a world free of gender violence and claimed solidarity with the Peruvian people protesting against President Dina Boluarte. They said their protest was "against macho violence and against the austerity measures of the governments and the IMF."

In front of the Casa Rosada, minutes before 7pm, a document agreed upon by more than 200 social, feminist, trade union and political organisations was read before the crowd, denouncing economic oppression facing women in the country.

"We returned to occupy the streets in a new day of feminist struggle to say that with this justice system there are no rights or democracy," the message began.

It continued: "40 years after the recovery of democracy, there is a justice system at the service of economic power. We denounce the crisis, it is not democracy if patriarchal pacts with the International Monetary Fund are sustained."

Another of the majority demands stated: "We are marching because unemployment affects us threefold. Our daily economy is weakened. The debt we take on at home to live becomes another form of oppression.”

International Women's Day
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So-called '8M' marches were replicated in other provinces of the country, with demonstrations in La Plata, Córdoba, Rosario, Mar del Plata, Bahía Blanca, Santa Fe, Catamarca, Salta, Jujuy, Santiago del Estero andSan Luis.

In Mendoza, a subset of "Ni Una Menos" marched in the afternoon under the slogan, "it is for the struggle, for our labour rights." The group proclaimed the inclusivity of the march, and pointed out that “women, lesbians, transgender, intersex and non-binary people flooded the streets and the Internet."

 

Women take to the streets around the world

The scenes in Buenos Aires were repeated across the globe. Continents away in Afghanistan, where the Taliban government is banning of women from universities, Iran is repression the Mahsa Amini protests, and new United States restrictions on abortion rights and the Ukraine war's impact on women, there are many reasons to protest worldwide.

In Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, which the United Nations called the "most repressive country in the world" for women's rights, AFP saw around 20 women holding a rare protest in the capital Kabul. 

Thousands of women also took part in rallies across Pakistan, despite efforts by authorities to block them. 

Marches also took place in Thailand and Indonesia, where a few dozen women gathered in front of the country's parliament to urge lawmakers to pass a long-awaited bill to protect domestic workers and some chanted "long live Indonesian women."

In Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised women for taking a central role in defending their country against Russia's invasion. He thanked "all women who work, teach, study, rescue, heal, fight – fight for Ukraine."

To mark International Women's Day, capitals across the world are hosting marches, rallies and demonstrations, including Madrid, where broad tree-lined boulevards are regularly packed with a sea of purple, a colour associated with women's rights in the country. 

Global progress on women's rights is "vanishing before our eyes," UN chief António Guterres warned on Monday, saying gender equality would take another three centuries to achieve.

"Women's rights are being abused, threatened, and violated around the world," he added, pointing to Afghanistan, where "women and girls have been erased from public life."

 

–– TIMES/AFP/PERFIL

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