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Women’s Day 2020 in Mexico

Women's Day 2020: Mexican women call for a national strike after a series of brutal femicide
English 09/03/2020 13:59 Newsroom/EL UNIVERSAL in English Mexico City Reuters Actualizada 14:40

On March 8, at least 80,000 women took over Mexico City to demand justice and equality

During the massive protest in Mexico City, thousands of women sang feminist anthems, demanded justice, remembered the women who have been victims of femicide, and showed hundreds of creative signs - Photo: Miranda Perea/EL UNIVERSAL in English

Newsroom/EL UNIVERSAL in English

Women's Day 2020: Mexican women call for a national strike after a series of brutal femicide

The majority of protesters were organized in feminist collectives and small groups of friends - Photo: Sofía Danis/EL UNIVERSAL in English

Newsroom/EL UNIVERSAL in English

Women's Day 2020: Mexican women call for a national strike after a series of brutal femicide

The majority of women wore something purple or green, as a sign of their support for feminism and abortion - Photo: Sofía Danis/EL UNIVERSAL in English

Newsroom/EL UNIVERSAL in English

Women's Day 2020: Mexican women call for a national strike after a series of brutal femicide

Despite the measures implemented to protect the monuments, women spray-painted several statues. However, sculptor and plastic artist Javier Marín praised the fact that one of his pieces was vandalized - Photo: Gretel Morales/EL UNIVERSAL in English

Newsroom/EL UNIVERSAL in English

Women's Day 2020: Mexican women call for a national strike after a series of brutal femicide

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According to official numbers, around 80,000 women marched through Mexico City on International Women’s Day 2020.

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Photo: Courtesy of Santiago Arau

The protests against femicide in Mexico began on March 7, when activists used red dye in a fountain in Mexico City. The famous “Diana Cazadora” fountain was dyed red to represent the blood spilled by the 10 women murdered in Mexico every day.

By early March 8, Claudia Sheinbaum’s government had installed walls and barriers to protect government buildings and monuments ahead of the women’s march.

During the massive protest in Mexico City, thousands of women sang feminist anthems, demanded justice, remembered the women who have been victims of femicide, and showed hundreds of creative signs.

womens_march.jpg
Photo: Courtesy of Santiago Arau

Recommended: Femicide: Women are being brutally murdered in Mexico

The majority of protesters were organized in feminist collectives and small groups of friends. The majority of women wore something purple or green, as a sign of their support for feminism and abortion.

At around 2 PM, thousands of protesters had arrived at the Revolution Monument. They began the demonstration and headed towards Reforma Avenue and then towards Mexico City’s main square, the Zócalo.

Earlier that day, a group of women had arrived at the Zócalo to paint the names of women who have been victims of femicide but today, on March 9, their name has been erased by government workers.

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Photo: Henry Romero/Reuters

womens_march_2.jpg
Photo: Courtesy of Santiago Arau

Despite the measures implemented to protect the monuments, women spray-painted several statues. However, sculptor and plastic artist Javier Marín, the artist behind a sculpture of Francisco I. Madero, praised the fact that the statue vandalized.

In social media, the artist said the sculpture doesn’t have a pedestal so that “the father of democracy” in Mexico was also part of demonstrations. He also said he hopes the statue is not cleaned and stays that way since it is the “testimony of this protest.”

The protesters are organized in a distinctive way. First, the victim’s mothers and relatives; followed by women accompanied by minors; women-only groups; political organizations, NGOs, and trade unions; female and male groups

Recommended: What is femicide?

Although the protest was mainly pacific, small groups vandalized some stores and broke several windows.

Once the women made it to the zócalo, they clashed with a small pro-life group that was outside the Metropolitan Cathedral. The men were protesting abortion and made Nazi salutes.

Wearing green bandannas to show their support for abortion rights, at least a dozen women ripped down banners describing abortion as femicide and set them on fire.

The male anti-abortion proponents, some of whom had shaved heads and one of whom carried a whip, yelled vulgar slang at the women.

The six alleged neo-nazis were arrested for attacking women.

Despite many protesters urging against violence, local authorities said the clashes left 65 people with injuries, including burns but none life-threatening.

The protest aimed to show outrage over a wave of femicides in Mexico, a crime that has risen 137% over the past five years.

“They’re killing 10 women a day, the ones that we know about, in the country I’ve lived in my whole life, it’s unacceptable,” said a preschool teacher, who said she was especially upset by the recent kidnapping and murder of a 7-year-old girl named Fátima.

Recommended: Mapping for justice: How one woman took it upon herself to register every femicide in Mexico

At the doors to the National Palace, where the president lives and works, protesters tossed Molotov cocktails at policewomen in riot gear who were among nearly 3,000 female officers deployed during the march.

One of the homemade bombs exploded and injured photographer Berenice Fregoso, who works for El Universal. The newspaper said she was hospitalized with second-degree burns.

Along the palace walls, women expressed their anger and despair through graffiti, including phrases such as “the president doesn’t care about us” and “misogynist AMLO,” referring to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

At the center of the city, women lit a bonfire and dance around it.

womens_march.jpg
Photo: Courtesy of Santiago Arau

Amid the flashpoints, protesters sang the anti-femicide anthem “Song Without Fear” and young women performed a lyrical dance that moved some observers to tears.

Dancer Angelica Trevino, 26, said her jumps and spins were meant to express frustration.

“The moves were full of this helplessness, of this daily life of not being able to be at peace,” she said. “It’s something that brings all of us women here today.”

Outside Mexico, women protested in states such as Guerrero, Hidalgo, Yucatán, Oaxaca, Zacatecas, Veracruz, San Luis Potosí, Puebla, Sinaloa, Chiapas, Sonora, Nuevo León, the State of Mexico, Baja California Sur, Michoacán, Quintana Roo, and Coahuila.

On March 7, activists from Guadalajara dyed the water of the Minerva fountain in red as a way to protest against femicide.

Femicide is on the rise

On the same thousands of women throughout the country protested against femicide and gender-based violence, at least three women were victims of femicide in Guanajuato, Coahuila, and Veracruz.

In Salamanca, Guanajuato, a university student and feminist activist named Nadia Verónica was shot dead after driving a friend home.

In Torreón, Coahuila, the body of a woman was found in the morning. The victim hasn’t been identified but it is known she is a woman between 20 and 25.

In in Boca del Río, Veracruz, a pregnant teenager was shot dead.

Recommended: Mexican women call for a national strike after a series of brutal femicides

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