Thousands Took the Streets, the National Woman’s Strike is Next
Fed up with escalating violence against women, and amid increasing tension between feminist organizations and government officials, tens of thousands of women poured into the streets of Mexico’s main cities in protest on Sunday.
The Ministry of Citizen Security (SSC) reported that at least 80,000 demonstrators gathered in Mexico City’s Zocalo to commemorate International Women's Day and to demand results in the fight against femicide. The authorities have said they are committed to fighting femicide.
The civil action follows the recent cases of Ingrid Escamilla and Fátima Cecilia that sparked public outrage. Escamilla was murdered and photos of her mutilated body were leaked to the tabloids, while 7-year-old Cecilia was abducted from her school in Mexico City and later found dead.
President López Obrador says the feminist uprising is influenced by conservatives trying to affect his administration, and claimed that neoliberalism was to blame for Cecilia’s murder. Organizers of the two-day protest rejected any claims of a partisan agenda.
Dressed in purple, scores of demonstrations were held in several Mexican cities, and in dozens of countries, for International Women’s Day. Sunday’s demonstration was also the start of a two-day protest in Mexico with a national women’s strike scheduled for Monday. Organizers hope the protest will become the turning point for women’s rights in Mexico.
In Mexico City, the Emergency Department Squad (ERUM) reported at least six people were injured during Sunday’s protests. Among the incidents of violence, a photo journalist suffered second-degree burns from a home-made bomb, masked demonstrators attacked a policewoman and buildings were vandalized. Organizers said undercover agents trying to discredit the movement were to blame.
Feminist groups expect to create a major economic, cultural and social impact with Monday’s “A Day Without Us” national strike. Further actions are being discussed.