Thousands march worldwide against abuse of women, Latest World News - The New Paper

Thousands march worldwide against abuse of women

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Demonstrators in some countries met with tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray as they rallied against lack of laws protecting them from violence

PARIS : The rallies were to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. In most places, the rallies were peaceful but in some places the very thing the women were marching against reared its ugly head.

In Turkey, riot police in Istanbul blocked the path of roughly 2,000 protesters, most of them women, before firing tear gas and plastic bullets.

Ms Ayse Baykal, a teacher, said she had joined the rally to protest against "the enemies of women" and to "end the murder of women".

Fellow marcher Ozge Cekcen, 25, said: "The killing of women in our country has risen sharply and, throughout society, we are being silenced."

In Mexico on Monday, demonstrators smashed windows, spray-painted monuments and clashed with riot police to protest against the authorities' failure to stop a spiral of violence against women. Thousands of women took to the streets, the latest in a series of large, rowdy marches over soaring rates of femicide and rape in Mexico.

Masked demonstrators with sledgehammers shattered the glass panes of bus stops and advertising billboards, tore down barricades, lit a bonfire and painted messages such as "How many more need to die?" on monuments lining Paseo de la Reforma, the city's most famous street.

Hundreds of riot police - mostly women, given that protest organisers had warned any men would face attacks - responded with pepper spray.

The movement has been dubbed the "Glitter Revolution", after protesters doused the Mexico City Security Minister in pink glitter at one demonstration.

Roughly 87,000 women and girls were murdered across the world in 2017, according to the United Nations.

Monday's rallies - animated by growing anger over the failure of justice systems to punish offenders - follow a weekend of protests against what is being termed femicide.

Crowds marched through the streets of Moscow to highlight the government's failure to pass laws protecting women, and hundreds of Sudanese women chanted "freedom, peace and justice" as they gathered in Khartoum in the first such protest in decades.

Tens of thousands of Spaniards marched in Madrid on Monday evening following a weekend of protests. Spain's long-standing laws against gender violence have not halted the problem - 52 women have been killed by their partners or ex-partners since the start of 2019.

South Africa has one of the worst records of any country on gender violence and the government has faced several rounds of mass protests on the issue.

President Cyril Ramaphosa used Monday's events to launch a campaign to improve victims' access to justice and urge men to drop their "sexist and patriarchal attitudes".

The UN warned that more action was needed around the world, singling out Afghanistan as a country where too little is done to counter sexual violence and rape. - AFP