Creativity has been the driving force behind feminism this Monday, International Women’s Day, to prevent the pandemic from silencing the demands. With the very limited mobilization in the streets of all Spain and completely prohibited in Madrid, the movement that defends the rights of women has opted this 8M to intensify the way of telematic expression, revive the applause at eight in the afternoon with another cause, “dress up” violet balconies and flood social media.
The only community in which women have not been able to freely exercise their right to protest march this year has been Madrid, where the Government Delegation in the region decided last week to ban mobilizations for “health reasons”, a decision that was endorsed by the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid this weekend and ratified this Monday by the Constitutional.
Faced with this circumstance, the 8M Commission in Madrid, which has organized the major demonstrations of recent years, has had to call off all the initiatives it had planned to carry out in the streets. Representatives of this association have announced on Monday that they will appeal the rulings of the TSJM before the Constitution and have said that these prohibitions try to “criminalize”, “infantilize” and “silence” the feminist movement.
As an alternative, they have asked the women of Madrid to do the protests from the subway, the terraces, the windows or the balconies, on a day in which two feminist murals have been vandalized in the Madrid district of Ciudad Lineal and in the town of Alcalá de Henares. These events, which are being investigated by the National Police, have aroused enormous outrage on social media.
The other feminist associations in Madrid have also had to cancel many of the plans they had prepared for their most symbolic date, although the Feminist Movement in Madrid has used as a strategy to reduce the capacity of their actions, because being part of a group with less than 20 people is not considered concentration.
Despite the ban, there have been some spontaneous demonstrations in the capital to demand Women’s Day. In the afternoon, a small rally has been held in the Plaza de Callao and little by little more women have joined the organization.
The security distance between them has been respected, according to Efe, and posters have been carried with slogans such as “it is not a party, it is a protest” or “freedom of expression and demonstration”.
In the morning, there was also a rally of the Union of Students and the association Free and Combative at the Puerta del Sol, protest in which four people have burst in and provoked a small confrontation with shoves and insults that has been corrected by the National Police.
The echo of this veto to the streets in Madrid has been heard in different parts of the country, such as Asturias or Comunidad Valenciana, where you can read posters with texts such as “We’re a global shout, the feminist movement from Madrid is here with us”.
Along with these messages, others have focused on the different faces of macho violence and the discrimination that many women suffer.
In Cataluña, as in the other communities, the celebration of the 8M has consisted of smaller events than usual and marked by the sanitary protocol to avoid contagion.
The most outstanding (and the most numerous in the country) call took place in Barcelona, where a “static demonstration” organized by the collective Vaga Feminista started at 18:30 hours, occupying eight sections of the public road, between the Gran Vía and Avenida Diagonal, with capacity for about 450 people each.
In Andalusia, where the president, Juanma Moreno, called not to go out into the street, events have been held in all the provincial capitals, as has also happened in Aragon, where there have been 20 organized rallies, including a cacerolada sound in Zaragoza.
In Valencia, where 50 rallies were called, have defended this Monday the role of women in society as workers and caregivers, a key task in the pandemic, but little valued: “We are the women who support society and maintain the economy with our jobs made invisible,” said one protester.
Among the most ingenious initiatives, a ‘bicicletada’ organized in Merida, a chain of women “built” in Toledo, and an act to air the Âsucios’ of the patriarchate, held in the square of the Town Hall of Pamplona.
In addition, Zamora has woke up this Monday with its sidewalks full of purple footprints, in Madrid many statues of male figures have been covered with images of women.
An 8M with different political views
The celebration of the 8M, which has been embroiled in enormous controversy for the second consecutive year, has resonated strongly in the political arena, which highlights the institutional act that the Government has celebrated from the headquarters of the Ministry of Equality and in which the feminist protest has been claimed as the best way to move towards a fairer future.
The partners of the Coalition Executive have put aside their differences and have promised to speed up the Equality agenda at a meeting where Minister Irene Montero already said that this “different” 8M would not prevent appreciating the “powerful force” that women generate when they unite “side by side to defend life”.
In parallel, the Popular Party has defended the “liberal feminism” and Citizens “modern and inclusive”, while Vox has again completely deviated from a quote they don’t see as necessary.
The party led by Santiago Abascal has even tried to convert the date on the National Day for the Victims of the Coronavirus into an 8M in which two women -one in Valencia and one in Navarre- are hospitalized after having been assaulted by their ex-partners.
For both of them and for those who could not survive the macho violence, feminism has also manifested itself, in a physical or telematic way, in the most atypical Women’s Day.