On Tuesday, thousands of women in Mexico City marched against femicide. An estimated total 80,000 attended sister events in Puebla, Cuernavaca, Veracruz, Morelia, Guanajuato, Chiapas, and other places across Mexico.
Participants of all ages held signs and wore purple, the color of the event. The march, carried out by feminist groups and allied organizations, started at El Ángel de la Independencia in the late evening and ended at the Zócalo close to midnight, where streams of purple were captured from street ariel views.
Performers sang, danced, and played music. Participants were seen handing flowers to female police officers along the march.
Women also participated in protests throughout Latin America, including in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Chile.
The demonstrations were held in honor of International Women’s Day, a worldwide observance meant to highlight issues of gender inequality and women’s rights.
“In Latin America there is a pushback from younger women” against gender discrimination and inequality, Dr. Kuri Layla Sánchez Kuri, a professor of political science and sociology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), tells Latino Rebels. “They have resources my generation did not have, my mother’s and grandmother’s generations, and our ancestors.”
Previous marches were marked by police aggression, and this one was no different.
“There were some breakouts of pushback from the police,” says Dr. Kuri commented. “My academic friends who stood peacefully were teargassed. The march was a festivity for us, not just a political protest, and this should not have happened.”
Weapons such as batons and Molotov cocktails were also seized from protestors.
According to government figures, Mexico experienced close to 1,000 femicides in 2021, up more than three percent from 2020, though activists believe the number to be much higher, saying that an average of 10 women are murdered daily in the country.
Among the states with the highest numbers are Nuevo León, Jalisco, Mexico City, and Veracruz.
“The objective of the march is to keep raising our voices,” Dr. Kuri says. “The lives of women are our priority. We have to protect this goal.”
“We all have a personal connection to the march as women,” says Quetzally Medina, a biomedical doctoral candidate at UNAM and a member of Científicias Mexicanas, a group working to build community among women in STEM. “I do not know a single woman, in or out of school, who has not experienced assault, discrimination, or abuse.”
Protesters who lost mothers, daughters, and friends demanded government action on the increased number of feminicides. From Cuernavaca, Morelos, postgraduate student Karime Diaz, part of the organization Vivas Nos Queremos (We Want Them Alive) says: “The march is an urgent call to the silence and indifference of the government.”
The protests also acted as commemorations and vigils for the victims of femicide.
“Somos el grito de las que ya no están,” the demonstrators shouted. “We are the cry of those who are no longer here!”
Yesica Balderrama is a journalist and writer based in New York City. Her work has appeared on WNYC, NPR, Latino USA, PEN America, Mental Floss, and others. Twitter: @yesica_bald