MADRID: Women across Europe and Asia shouted their demands for respect and empowerment Thursday to mark International Women’s Day, with protesters in Spain launching a 24-hour strike and crowds of demonstrators filling the streets of Manila, Seoul and New Delhi, reports AP.
Spanish women were staging dozens of protests across the country against the wage gap and gender violence. In Madrid, a massive demonstration was planned for the evening. In Barcelona, protesters who disrupted traffic into the city center were pushed back by riot police.In some countries, protests were more muted, however.
International Women’s Day is a public holiday in Russia, but opposition presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak was one of the few demonstrators in Moscow.
In a protest reminiscent of the #MeToo movement, which aims to hold those involved in sexual misconduct, and those who cover it up, accountable, Sobchak staged a solo picket outside the lower house of the Russian parliament to demand the resignation of a prominent lawmaker whom several female journalists accuse of sexual harassment.
The allegations against Leonid Slutsky, head of the Duma’s foreign affairs committee, include sexual groping and making demeaning comments. Parliament speaker Vyacheslav Volodin has dismissed the complaints, saying that journalists who feel unsafe covering the Duma should get other jobs.
Across Asia, women came out to mark the day. In China, students at Tsinghua University used the day to make light of a proposed constitutional amendment to scrap term limits for the country’s president. One banner joked that a boyfriend’s term should also have no limits, while another said, “A country cannot exist without a constitution, as we cannot exist without you!”