Massive anti-femicide protest in Argentina

Buenos Aires, June 4 (IANS) Thousands of people gathered in Buenos Aires at the gates of a Congress illuminated in purple, shouting “Ni una menos” (Not one less), referring to victims of domestic violence and urging institutions to take up necessary measures to ensure it, Spanish news agency Efe reported on Thursday.

“We don’t want anymore women killed by femicide. We want them alive. All of them. Not one less,” said actor Juan Minujin on Wednesday reading the document of an act passed in the Argentine parliament before the thousands who demanded that violence against women be stopped.

With tears of blood painted on faces, carrying posters with the message “Basta de feminicidios” (No more femicides) and banners with calls for justice, and donning T-shirts with the message “Ni una menos”, people of all ages gathered at the centre to express their outrage.

The call to march, which started last month on social networks following the murder of a teenaged girl, was repeated in 80 other Argentine cities along with Uruguay, Chile and Miami in the US.

At the demonstration there were men but, above all, there were women who felt that limits had far been exceeded after the rise in cases of victims of gender violence who were killed in recent months.

“There are not only reactionary sections, but they do not understand this issue of equality between men and women. It is a constant struggle that will last a very long time until we reach equality,” Frederick Polak, member of the network Men for Equality, told Efe from the Argentine Congress.

For many women, the march was also an opportunity to approach and denounce the violence that they suffered and about which, until now, they had not been able to speak.

The march also brought together politicians of different ideologies, including President Cristina Fernandez and the conservative Buenos Aires Mayor and presidential candidate, Mauricio Macri, who showed their support through social networks.

The main demands include effective implementation of a comprehensive protection law to prevent and eradicate violence against women, sanctioned more than five years ago.

It also urged for the compilation of official statistics on violence against women and ensuring access to justice for victims.

The creation of shelter homes for victims and monitoring of perpetrators ensuring they do not violate restrictions, also feature high in the demands list.

“‘Ni una menos’ is a collective cry, it is to tread where previously people looked the other way, it is to review practices, it is a social commitment,” said the document read at the protest.

The mobilisation was convened by a group of journalists, writers and artists, following the death of Chiara Paez, a 14-year-old pregnant girl, who was killed and buried in a backyard by her 16-year-old boyfriend.

The murder of Paez shocked the Argentine public who had been witness to a string of cases of murdered women.

In 2014 alone, 277 women were murdered in Argentina, one every 30 hours, according to the civil association La Casa del Encuentro (Meeting House) which in the absence of official statistics, follows up on the cases that appear in the media across the country.

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