EVERY tone of purple and lilac could be seen as Valencians came out in huge numbers to support International Women’s Day On Wednesday (8 March).
Marchers, both men and women, came from across the generations; there were mothers and grandmothers with children and babies, there were teenage girls, members of the LGTBQ community, there were even grandparents in wheelchairs, but all shared the same desire for greater equality for women as they enjoyed the peaceful protest in the warm spring-like evening.
An estimated 60,000 people took part, however, this year there were two separate marches both here in Valencia and other major cities across Spain. Political divisions over the controversial new sexual consent Only yes means yes law had threatened to undermine this evening’s demonstrations, and some marchers chanted calling for Spain’s equality minister, Irene Montero (Podemos) to resign.
The largest demonstration, taking its route through the city centre, was organised by La Coordinadora, an umbrella organisation representing many different NGOs and associations. The march finished in Plaza de la Reina and this year their focus was not only on Spanish women, but also those struggling for their rights around the world and in particular Iran and Afghanistan. The march set off from La Porta de la Mar, where events began with a tijeratazo, a dozen women cutting their hair in solidarity with Iranian women who have been fighting against the authorities ever since 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died after being detained by the Iranian “morality police” for removing her headscarf.
Meanwhile, the Assemblea Feminista València organised a general strike as they had in 2018 and 2019 and marched through the city under the slogan “in the face of violent capitalism, dissident feminism” and chanted antiracism and the transfeminist struggle.” The march concluded in Plaza de la Virgen.
Assemblea spokesperson, Mireia Biosca said: “Now we’re over the pandemic, it’s the time to take action. The levels of violence that women continue to suffer on a daily basis is just one of the many reasons we have to come back out on the streets and protest.”
Valencia City Hall tweeted photos of the Ayuntamiento building and Porta de la Mar lit up in purple.