International Women’s Day, strikes, demonstrations

International Women's Day march in Manila, Philippines, AFP photo

This AFP photo shows an International Women’s Day march in Manila, the Philippines, today.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Massive strike by Spanish women on International Women’s Day

In Spain, millions of employees have participated in the “feminist strike” on International Women’s Day. Spanish trade unions support the strike of women, but men were allowed to strike today as well because the law prohibits discrimination. Activist women demand equal pay and a safe workplace without sexual harassment.

According to the biggest unions, 5.3 million people have left work this morning for two hours. “When we stop, the world stops” is the slogan of the striking women. Elsewhere, the strike is for 24 hours.

Throughout the country there are 120 demonstrations this afternoon and tonight; they promise to become massive in Madrid and Barcelona. The mayors of both cities, Manuela Carmena and Ada Colau, support the actions.

This morning, striking Catalan women already blocked a highway in Barcelona. The riot police quickly ended the protest event. Hundreds of trains stopped across the country, and no female presenters were heard in the media. …

Also elsewhere in the world attention was paid to International Women’s Day. For example, there were demonstrations in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India for equal rights and against sexual violence.

In the Philippine capital Manila, hundreds of women protested against President Duterte, in their eyes the biggest violator of women’s rights in Asia. The activists handed flowers to the wives and mothers of drug users and dealers who were shot dead by the zero-tolerance president. Duterte recently angered people with his statement that soldiers should shoot female communist rebels in their vaginas.

A woman from the Bheel nomad community performs during a gathering to mark the International Women's Day in Karachi, Pakistan

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

At rallies in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, its largest city Karachi and the cultural capital Lahore, women denounced men’s violence against them. Nearly 1,000 women in Pakistan are killed by close relatives each year in what the male attackers call “honour killings.”

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was the target of a protest in central Manila by hundreds of activists in pink and purple shirts, who said he was among the worst violators of women’s rights in Asia.

Protest leaders sang and danced at a lively rally in Plaza Miranda, handing red and white roses to mothers, sisters and widows of people killed as part of Mr Duterte’s crackdown.

He has previously ordered soldiers to shoot female Maoist rebels in the vagina, to make them “useless.”

Hundreds of South Koreans, many wearing black and holding black “#MeToo” signs, rallied in central Seoul. South Korea’s anti-sexual violence movement has gained significant traction since January, when a female prosecutor began speaking openly about workplace mistreatment and sexual misconduct.

Several high-profile South Korean men have resigned from positions of power, including a governor who was a leading presidential contender before he was accused of repeatedly raping his female secretary.

In India, hundreds of women marched through the capital New Delhi to bring attention to domestic violence, sexual attacks and discrimination in jobs and wages.

“Unite against violence against women,” one placard urged. “Man enough to say no to domestic abuse,” said another. “My body, My choice.”

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) sent women’s day greetings but posted online a picture of a woman communist badly beaten in Tripura by men linked to the ruling BJP party, asking whether the crime was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message to women.

Violence against communists has swept Tripura since the BJP won legislative elections in the state last weekend.

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