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  • Women dance during a protest against Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro in Sao Paulo, Brazil March 8, 2019.

    Women dance during a protest against Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro in Sao Paulo, Brazil March 8, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 9 March 2019

The protesters also warn that femicides are prevalent in the country that, in 2018, registered one of the highest rates in the world; with an astounding 70% of the victims being black.

Thousands of Brazilian women marched, throughout the main streets of the country, within the framework of the global demands of International Women's Day and to warn of the threatening setbacks of the right-wing government of Jair Bolsonaro. 

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In the global manifesto of the March 8 protests, agreed upon by activists from several countries, Bolsonaro was a recurring theme in the chants and mentioned as "starting a war" against the poor, women, black people and members of the LGBT community. The protesters also warn that femicides are prevalent in the country that, in 2018, registered one of the highest rates in the world; with an astounding 70% of the victims being black.

So far, this year, a total of 126 women have already been murdered.

Representing Brazil, the manifesto was signed by Indigenous leader Sonia Guajajara; editor Antonia Pellegrino, leader of the Women's Union Amelinha Teles; and activist and widow of Marielle Franco, Monica Benicio.

Homage was paid to Franco, who was a renowned advocated for Afro-Brazilian and LGBT rights, throughout the entire march.

"Her presence here is an example of black women who have entered into [legislative] spaces, and how we must be alert, but also value their achievements," public official Manuela Siqueira said.  Siqueira opined that the murder of Franco did not end the push for her ideals, in fact, it did the opposite.

"Marielle was a seed; the feminist movement has gained a newfound strength."

During the march standard feminist demands were presented, including bringing an end to gender-based violence and having access to legal and safe abortion, as well as criticism of Bolsonaro's proposed pension reform and the request to release former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from prison. 

Bolsonaro responded to the marches by claiming the government, consisting of only two female cabinet members out of 22 ministers, would carry out actions that respect women's "feelings." 

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