Hundreds of Guatemalans Celebrate International Women’s Day

By Dialogo
March 09, 2009

GUATEMALA, 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.‎