Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets across Spain on Wednesday for International Women’s Day.
In Barcelona, several thousand female students marched through the city center, many carrying purple and waving banners that read: “Feminism means fighting” and “We are brave and we want to be free”.
And in Madrid, protesters prepared for the main march at 19:00 local time under the slogan: “We fight against a patriarchy… that fights ad nauseam against rights – such as the right to abortion – that we have won. through struggle.”
Although Spain has for years produced one of the world’s largest turnouts on March 8, this year’s marches are marked by a split within its own leftist government over a sexual violence law that has inadvertently led to reduced sentences for hundreds of sex offenders.
On Tuesday, the country’s two ruling left-wing parties clashed over the law, proposing reforms after it led to reduced sentences for more than 700 offenders and sparked national outrage.
United We Can, which sponsored the new law last year, voted late Tuesday against parliament considering a reform proposed by the Socialists to restore higher prison terms for future sex offenders.
But the proposed amendment was approved with rare support from the Conservative Party, which leads the opposition.
Thousands march in Mexico
International Women’s Day demonstrations were also seen in cities around the world, including Mexico.
Thousands of women marched in the nation’s capital on Wednesday amid a heavy police presence. “I’m tired of going out every day, to work, to school and being subjected to some kind of harassment,” said Fernanda Corona, a protester in Mexico City.
“I’m tired of being condemned to live this every day because I’m a woman.”
A day earlier, there were mass demonstrations in the city as demonstrators marched against violence against women. And they accused the country’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of not doing enough to stop a rise in femicide.
Harassment and violence against women in Mexico is widespread, with an estimated 20 women killed every day.