MEXICO CITY — Women filled the streets of the world’s largest cities Sunday to protest gender violence and inequality on International Women’s Day, with the mothers of murdered girls leading a march in Mexico City and participants in Paris inveighing against the “virus of the patriarchy.”
While many protests were peaceful celebrations others were marred by tension, with security forces arresting demonstrators at a rally in Kyrgyzstan and police reportedly using tear gas to break up a demonstration by thousands of women in Turkey.
“In many different ways or forms, women are being exploited and taken advantage of,” Arlene Brosas, the representative of a Filipino advocacy group said during a rally that drew hundreds to the area near the Philippine presidential palace. Protesters called for higher pay and job security, and demanded that President Rodrigo Duterte respect women’s rights.
Turkish riot police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of demonstrators who, in defiance of a government ban, tried to march along Istanbul’s main pedestrian street to mark International Women’s Day, media reports said.
Turkish authorities declared Istiklal street, near Istanbul’s main Taksim square, off-limits, and said the planned march down the avenue was unauthorized. Thousands of demonstrators, most of them women, gathered near Istiklal regardless and tried to break through police barricades to reach it, according to the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper and other media.
Tens of thousands of women also marched through Paris, inveighing against the patriarchy.
“Enough impunity!” chanted some activists, who focused on France’s unusually high rate of women killed by their husbands. Last year, one woman was killed every two or three days by a current or former partner, and the government is increasing efforts to crack down on domestic violence.
“They should provide resources for shelters for women, victims of violence, real resources, human resources, also prevention programs for violent men,” union activist Julia Parbotin said.