Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Europe and Latin America on Thursday to demand an end to violence against women, with Turkish police firing tear gas to disperse the protesters.
The rallies were held to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, with thousands of protesters in Mexico City, Madrid and Barcelona, while others gathered in Paris and London.
Gatherings were also held in countries such as Chile, Venezuela, Bolivia, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Guatemala.
“They did not die. They killed them,” read one of the banners of the march in Mexico, a country where a dozen women are murdered every day.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, at least 4,091 women were victims of femicide in 2020, according to the United Nations regional commission.
Tensions erupted in Mexico City when a small number of protesters armed with hammers attempted to grab the shields of the police, who pushed them back with smoke bombs.
Things also took a turn for the worse in Istanbul when riot police fired tear gas to disperse a protest by hundreds of protesters urging the government to join an international treaty designed to protect women.
The Turkish government abandoned the historic Istanbul Convention earlier this year on the grounds that its principles of gender equality undermined traditional family values, which angered activists.
So far this year, 345 women have been killed in Turkey, according to rights groups.
“A global scourge”
In Spain, where the government has made tackling domestic violence a national priority, thousands of people took to the streets of Madrid and Barcelona in a sea of purple flags, while others gathered in Valencia. , Seville and other cities of the country.
In the Spanish capital, demonstrators wearing purple masks, hats and scarves marched behind a huge banner that read “Enough male violence against women.” Solutions now!
“We are not all here, the murdered have disappeared,” they chanted as they passed the Cibeles fountain and other historic buildings illuminated in purple, carrying signs saying “Not even one more dead”.
“Globally, this remains a scourge and a huge problem,” Leslie Hoguin, a 30-year-old student and actor, told UKTN.
“It is high time that the patriarchal violence against our bodies, our lives and our decisions ended.”
Many were fed up with the continued abuse that women face.
“We are fed up with the continued violence against us which takes many different forms,” said Maria Moran, a 50-year-old civil servant.
“We want to see prostitution abolished and an end to murder, abuse and rape.”
In 2004, the Spanish parliament overwhelmingly approved the first European law to crack down on gender-based violence.
“Eradicating gender-based violence is a national priority,” tweeted Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, a self-proclaimed feminist whose cabinet is dominated by women.
“We will only be a just society when we are done with all kinds of violence against women.”
“Living in danger”
Nearly one in three women worldwide has experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly from someone she knows, according to UN Women, the United Nations Organization for Gender Equality.
“Violence against women is a global crisis. In all of our own neighborhoods, women and girls live at risk,” Executive Director Sima Bahous said in a video message.
Pope Francis has also spoken.
“Women victims of violence must be protected by society,” he tweeted.
“The various forms of abuse that many women experience are cowardly and represent degradation for men and for all of humanity. We cannot look away.”