Thousands of women in Latin American countries have flocked to the streets in capital cities on International Women’s Day, calling for an end to sexual harassment and violence.
Mass demonstrations commemorating the day on March 8 were held in Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru on Wednesday.
An estimated 60,000 protesters rallied in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, demanding equal rights for women and an end to sexual violence against them.
Chanting slogans, the participants held banners and placards that read, “March 8: If you stop a woman, you stop the world,” and “Sorry to bother, but we’re being killed.”
Rallies in Argentina, where a woman is reportedly killed by her male partner or ex-partner every 30 hours, attracted thousands in the capital, Buenos Aires.
“Enough already! We want each other ALIVE,” read signs waved by the demonstrators who had gathered in front of Argentina’s presidential palace in the capital city.
Mexican women also expressed their indignation over social and domestic violence, saying that they were constantly harassed by strangers.
Gathering on the Mexican capital’s iconic Paseo de la Reforma Avenue, the demonstrators chanted, “We don’t want flowers. We want rights!” and “Being a woman should not be a risk factor.”
In Brazil, Women’s Day protests had a tinge of political fanfare as President Michel Temer during a speech earlier in the day praised females for their home-keeping skills but controversially played down the role of women in society.
Temer said women are treated as second-class citizens in other parts of the world, without providing details.
Violence against women is common in many South American countries with mixed Spanish-indigenous populations.
Some 50,000 cases of sexual assault and rape were registered in Brazil in 2014 and there is concern that such cases are under-reported.