After an 8M morning of symbolic actions in the streets and on social mediahave started the mobilizations that the feminist movement has called in almost all Spanish cities. These are limited concentrations due to restrictions due to the pandemic, respecting security measures and with maximum capacity, but they all focus on how the health crisis has aggravated inequality and widened gender gaps. Madrid, the community with the worst contagion data, is the only one that has banned the protests for “public health reasons”, a decision appealed by the convening organizations that have maintained the courts. However, small protests have been improvised in the streets and applause and caceroladas from the balconies and in the squares.
“They cannot call off the feminist struggle”: March 8 does not surrender despite vetoes and the pandemic
This year is not being the 8M of hugs or mass marches or gatherings of large friends and colleagues, but it will be that of feminist vindication. Because if all the organizers agree on something, it is that “more than ever” this 2021 is marked by the denunciation of how the pandemic “is deepening in the crisis, vulnerabilities and burdens that we already had” women. A health emergency that, in the opinion of the feminist movement, “has shown that we must rethink the world” and has shown that “it is time to make visible and value care work”, which mostly falls on women, both in the formal sphere as informal.
The marches have developed normally in the main Spanish cities. Barcelona, Bilbao, Valencia, Santiago de Compostela, Murcia, Seville … with safety distance and masks, with purple cords, signs on the ground or rows of women to guarantee the distance feminists have claimed the street in the framework of the restrictions. “With a distance, but we continue to be equally vindictive,” said Alba, one of those attending the protest in Pamplona, in which it was put on the table that the pandemic “has not stopped feminism.”
After 6.30 pm the concentration in Barcelona started. A purple tide has filled the city center again this Monday, like every March 8. Due to the restrictions due to COVID-19, a mass mobilization had not been called, but rather a static protest in which the organizers demanded prior registration. 3,000 people have signed up in eight sections along Passeig de Gràcia.
Under the slogan “Together, diverse and rebellious we are unstoppable! Always feminists!”, The Catalan feminist movement has denounced that the pandemic has aggravated the precarious situation of many women, especially of “groups of migrant and racialized women, the young and the old. ”
Claudia, Irene and Anabel, three teenage friends who have been attending the 8M demonstrations since the first feminist strike called in 2018. And they claim to have many reasons, one of which stands out from the outset: “We claim to be able to go out at night safely. say things on the street. ” Each one with their banner, they have attended the Passeig de Gràcia protest after partially supporting the feminist student strike. Only in the afternoon. While waiting for the protest to begin, they also assured that their other great reason for mobilization is to remember all those who have been victims of sexist violence.
Improvised marches and feminist applause in Madrid
In Madrid the 8M is being the most atypical, but several hundred women have cut streets near the Puerta de Alcalá in the capital shouting ‘Here we are the feminists’. A hundred of them, from the Pan y Rosas collective, had gathered at six in the afternoon at the Templete del Retiro to demonstrate for 8M. Organized in groups of four, they have crossed Calle Alcalá and cut off the traffic that runs to Plaza de Neptuno, where they have held a sit-in to read the manifesto. A few minutes after occupying the road, several cars of the National Police and the IPU appeared. “Madrid will be the tomb of machismo,” they shouted.
In different neighborhoods of the capital such as Vallecas, Legazpi, Carabanchel or Usera, “feminist walks” have been organized in groups of women who have also taken to the streets. The outrage in the feminist movement after the veto by the Government Delegation is unanimous. They consider that it is an “act of invisibility of women and of contempt for their work” and have focused on the fact that being a general prohibition, which has included protests of 50 or 100 people in the neighborhoods, it is “disproportionate” and “little founded”, they consider. The courts, however, they have defended that the mobilizations can suppose a “risk” for the public health.
Due to the veto, in Madrid cacerolas and applause had been called on the balconies and windows at 8:00 p.m. that have been seconded in some areas of the capital. In the square of the Lavapiés neighborhood, some women waited minutes before the hour, at which point they began to applaud and launch feminist proclamations such as “Long live the women’s struggle”, turning the act into an improvised rally with a safe distance. and mask. From the windows overlooking the square, several women who had ‘dressed’ their balconies in purple banners or posters have joined the protest.
Delicias, La Latina or Malasaña have been some other of the Madrid neighborhoods in which applause and saucepans have been heard. And it is that the feminist movement has wanted to launch the message today that, although it was not a day of massive mobilizations like those of previous years, “we are a global cry and we have come to change everything,” pointed out the spokesmen of the 8M Commission of Madrid, who have insisted that feminism “is present every day and on a daily basis.”
After a morning of mobilizations in Valencia, feminists have also wanted to occupy the street a few hours later in three simultaneous concentrations that start from different points. Both in Calle Colón and in Benimaclet and Poblats Marítims they wanted to claim that “feminism is essential in the face of social injustice.” Under the slogan “feminism will be of all or it will not be”, the protest has wanted to denounce the “criminalization” that in its opinion the Madrilenian feminists are suffering after the veto of the mobilizations by the Government delegate, José Manuel Franco. And, with a safe distance, members of the Valencian Feminist Assembly have performed in the street an anti-racist adaptation of the performance ‘the rapist is you’, by the Chilean group Las Tesis.
The three capitals and a dozen Basque towns have also hosted demonstrations. “Although we are fewer because people from other parts have not been able to come, we have the emotion of being here and having them hear our voice,” said Marijo, who attended the Bilbao event. “Remember that you have to keep your distances and you have to put on the masks well, but you know that we have once again dyed the streets purple,” they explained when they arrived at the City Council before the final concentration. Feminists have also marched in Vitoria accompanied as usual by a batucada, but organized in three lines to safeguard security measures, while in San Sebastián the mobilization began at 6:30 p.m. from the tunnel of the Antiguo.
Around 300 women have surrounded the Plaza de Santo Domingo de León. The assistants have joined with purple ties to guarantee the safety distance, while in Valladolid they have been separated thanks to some marks painted on the ground. Feminists have emphasized the need to defend the inclusion of trans women in the feminist movement, something that has also been present in Murcia, where a demonstration organized in three lines of women has started after 6:00 p.m. on Gran Vía. “They want us submissive, they have us combative” and “Long live the struggle of the working woman!”
Report prepared with information from Arturo Puente, Maialen Ferreira, Ángel Villaescusa, Elisa Reche, Laura Martínez and Patricia Gea.