Buenos Aires Times

argentina INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

Asembleas indicate energetic #8M lies ahead, say organisers

As International Women’s Day draws near, activists are preparing to take to the streets for women’s rights.

Friday 1 March, 2019
 Over 80 groups send representatives to speak at the weekly asembleas where members gather to hear a rotation of passionate rallying cries.
Over 80 groups send representatives to speak at the weekly asembleas where members gather to hear a rotation of passionate rallying cries. Foto:TIMES/Anna Laffrey

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Feminist activists and organisers in Buenos Aires have gathered every Friday evening this summer, as the prepare for another massive demonstration this March 8 to mark International Women’s Day.

Over 80 groups send representatives to speak at the weekly asembleas (“assemblies”) where members gather, clad in the green bandanas of the pro-abortion movement, to hear a rotation of passionate rallying cries.

Over 350,000 people showed up to march from National Congress to the Plaza de Mayo last year, according to Florencia Minici, co-founder of the well-known grassroots feminist group NiUnaMenos.

She said the political timing of this year’s march, given this is an electoral year, could bring out still more protesters.

“The preparations this year have been more complicated, as people decide whether or not to support the government of Mauricio Macri in the coming presidential elections,” Minici told the Times in an interview. “The movement has incredible energy this year.”

As women continue to advocate for abortion rights and gender equality, this year’s protest will also call attention to recent spikes in violence against women, Minici said.

At least 24 women were killed in confirmed femicides in January of 2019, up from 19 in the first month of 2018, according to a report from Mujeres de la Matria Latinoamericana (MuMaLá) reported.

“There is a great need to get onto the streets, to speak out against the government that is susceptible for this continued violence,” Minici said “To speak against femicide, and against sexual and economic violence, of course.”

The weekly asembleas “bring together a lot of diverse political ideologies” from a wide range of groups with varying missions, Minici explained. “There is no one [version of] feminism. We have to build a space to represent everyone, so it’s sort of a complex liberation.”

One such organisation, the socialist feminist group Las Piqueteras, focuses on bolstering workers’ and indigenous rights across Latin America.

“Poor women in the region are struggling to find the things they need to survive, like light, gas, and water,” the Las Piqueteras leader said. 

Las Piqueteras are ultimately “fighting in unity against Macri,” Asquini said. “Our goal is to get rid of Macri in these coming elections. It’s necessary to defend a unified anti-Macri front to end the violence against women in our country.”

This year’s march will begin at National Congress between 5pm and 6pm and end at the iconic Plaza de Mayo, organisers confirmed.

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