Hundreds of Guatemalans Celebrate International Women’s Day
By Dialogo March 09, 2009GUATEMALA, March 8, 2009 (AFP) - Hundreds of Guatemalans participated in a march on Sunday to commemorate International Women's Day, an activity during which they demanded increased safety, as well as equal opportunity for personal, social, and community development. "We are demanding that the government cease the violence, discrimination, and inequality. We advocate the implementation of policies to ensure inclusion and respect for our gender," Women’s Sector activist Sandra Moran told local journalists. As she announced the activist, who is part of the Casa Artesana collective, images of butterflies, symbolic of transformation, decorated shawls, banners, and whistles with which the Guatemalan women called the attention of the citizens to their demands. According to Moran, the butterfly is a symbol of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, November 25. The celebration followed a week that was marked by violence in this Central American country, during which at least 10 women were killed, four of whom were dismembered and whose remains were found in plastic bags in various parts of the city and surrounding municipalities. According to official figures, in the first 67 days of 2009 some 75 women were murdered, a phenomenon that has increased in recent years. "It is lamentable that the State did not worry about providing the security the population needed, especially the women, more of whom are murdered every year," said Moran. As part of the celebration, last Friday the Casa Artesana collective presented the launch of the campaign for "215 actions for the life, dignity, and rights of women deprived of liberty." "This campaign’s activities include: sensibilization, impact of state institutions, training and empowerment for women deprived of liberty and the creation of a transition center for women after their liberation," said Moran. For the rest of the week, both women's and social organizations such as the central government have planned other activities to continue the commemoration of International Women's Day.