From Madrid to Barcelona, Paris to London, Guatemala to Honduras, the parades marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
“We’re not all here, missing those who were murdered“sang the demonstrators gathered in Madrid, wearing masks, hats and purple scarves.
“Don’t be silent in the face of male violence“echoed the banners displayed by hundreds of demonstrators in Istanbul.
They also denounced Turkey’s withdrawal from an international treaty protecting women, the Istanbul Convention, accused by conservatives in power of encouraging homosexuality and threatening the traditional family structure.
They were greeted by tear gas fire as they tried to cross the police barricades.
Spain, which has a powerful feminist movement, has a public observatory on gender violence which has recorded 1,118 murders of women by their companion or ex-companion since 2003, including 37 in 2021.
In Turkey, 345 women have been killed since the start of 2021, according to the We Will Stop Feminicide platform, against 410 in 2020.
“Globally, it is a scourge … It is time for the patriarchal violence to end against our bodies, our lives and our decisions“, testified to AFP in the procession of Madrid Leslie Holguin, a thirty-year-old actress.
“We demand an end to prostitution and demand an end to assassinations, ill-treatment and rape“, added Maria Moran, a 50-year-old civil servant.
The fight against gender-based violence is a national priority in Spain, which in 2004 adopted the first law in Europe making the victim’s gender an aggravating circumstance in the event of aggression.
“We will only be a just society when we are done with all kinds of violence against women.Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, whose government has more women than men, insisted on Twitter.
In Mexico City, thousands of women also took to the streets.
“They didn’t die, they killed them“, said the signs brandished by the demonstrators of this country where every day 10 women are killed, according to the UN.
Clashes pitted small groups of demonstrators, armed with hammers, against the police, who used irritating gases to disperse them.
In Guatemala, hundreds of women have also taken to the streets in this country hit by an increase in feminicides (by 30% compared to the same period of 2020 according to the authorities) and teenage pregnancies.
Demonstrations were also organized in Chile, Venezuela, Bolivia and Uruguay. In Latin America and the Caribbean, some 4,091 women were victims of femicide in 2020, according to the United Nations regional commission.
– One in three women –
Nearly one in three women worldwide has experienced physical or sexual violence, often from someone they know, according to the UN.
“Violence against women is a global crisis. In all of our own neighborhoods, women and girls live in danger“, alarmed Sima Bahous, executive director of UN Women, the United Nations organization defending women’s rights.
Pope Francis also spoke on Twitter: “The various forms of abuse suffered by many women represent degradation for men and for all of humanity. We can’t look away“.
In Africa, several African heads of state gathered Thursday in Kinshasa for a summit on “positive masculinity“solemnly pledged to fight against discrimination and violence against women, from rape during conflicts to genital mutilation.
We “launch the African Union campaign to end violence against women and girls and implement a zero tolerance policy in conflict and post-conflict situations“, said the heads of state, including the president of the DRC Félix Tshisekedi and the Rwandan Paul Kagame, in a joint statement.