Mexican women protest murders of activists, target monuments

Mexican women protest murders of activists, target monuments

  • 0

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Several hundred feminist activists warmed up with chants Saturday next to a monument to murdered Mexican women before filling a street in the capital and dousing female police officers with red paint.

It was the latest in a series of rowdy all-female protests that have flooded central avenues since August, when thousands of women took to the streets of Mexico City in anger over the alleged rape of a teenager by city police and rampant violence against women.

Now, the feminists themselves feel like targets after two of their fellow activists were murdered this month in different parts of the country.

“Once again the women are taking to the streets to shout to society that they are killing us,” said Nelly Ornelas, 24, who belongs to a collective called Love is Not Violence, which seeks to stamp out domestic violence.

On average, 10 women are murdered every day in Mexico, making it one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women. Only one of every 10 reported crimes in Mexico results in jail time.

Ornelas thinks the shooting death last week of women's rights activist Isabel Cabanillas in Ciudad Juarez, a city just south of El Paso, Texas, was meant as a message to the women who are fighting for greater safety.

“Since the authorities are indifferent, lazy, the men think that they can keep killing women. So the feminists, we are going to keep going out until they learn to respect us,” said Ornelas.

Nearby, mothers and sisters of murdered women took turns at a microphone to describe how their girls were murdered, and how, years later, the perpetrators remain free. Many family members receive death threats for their pursuit of justice.

Tears streamed down the face of teenager Tessa Lagunas as she listened to the tales.

“Sometimes I feel like staying home and not going anywhere,” she said, as her mother consoled her.

In August, female protesters shocked Mexico by trashing a bus station, police precinct and spray-painting messages like “rape state” onto the base of the Angel of Independence, a major monument in the capital topped by a female angel.

Those who complained about the graffiti, the protesters argued, care more about statues than real women.

Defacing monuments along the city's stately Reforma Avenue has since become a priority for some, who wear masks to conceal their identities.

On Saturday the masked protesters poured red paint onto a statue of a man riding a pegasus, threw a flaming projectile at a statue of explorer Christopher Columbus and tied a green bandanna -a symbol of abortion rights- around the ankle of a statue of French chemist Louis Pasteur.

“It's a way to get our anger out and also to give visibility to the movement,” said a 19-year-old with a black mask on her face.

Lines of female police in riot helmets stood shoulder to shoulder in an effort to protect the monuments. The protesters shifted directions at several points, resulting in an elaborate game of cat and mouse that blocked traffic on key arteries for several hours.

The protesters shouted “traitor!” at the female officers, who pursed their lips and resisted fighting back — even when one officer's uniform briefly caught fire from a Molotov cocktail.

“Really, we are with them,” said a veteran female police officer whose face was splattered with red paint.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

  • Updated

MILAN (AP) — The Vatican effort to reform the disgraced Legion of Christ religious order is coming under new scrutiny, with four Legion priests and a Legion lawyer due to stand trial on charges they tried to obstruct justice and extort the family of a sex abuse victim.

  • Updated

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese health officials expressed new optimism Thursday over the deadly virus outbreak while authorities in South Korea’s fourth-largest city urged residents to hunker down as fears nagged communities far from the illness’ epicenter.

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Angry demonstrations broke out in Mexico City on Friday as hundreds of women protested the gruesome slaying and mutilation of a young woman, a case that has come to personify outrage over the rising incidence of gender-related killings, or femicides.

  • Updated

BEIJING (AP) — As a mysterious new virus enveloped central China's Wuhan early this year, Liu Zhiming mobilized all the resources of his hospital in the city's Wuchang district to deal with the thousands of sick people arriving daily, threatening to overwhelm the local health care system.

  • Updated

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A small instrument inside the drones that targeted the heart of Saudi Arabia's oil industry and those in the arsenal of Yemen's Houthi rebels match components recovered in downed Iranian drones in Afghanistan and Iraq, two reports say.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alert

Breaking News