At least eight different women’s rights groups organized several marches and protests in Mérida on International Women’s Day.
Most of Tuesday’s marchers kicked off at Paseo de Montejo’s Monumento a la Patria — which along with multiple monuments was vandalized — and made their way across town to several city parks and plazas.
During the demonstrations, women held up signs denouncing the federal and state government for their failure to curb violence against women in Mexico.
Several women brought their daughters to the event and a few even pushed their babies in strollers.
“We want a better future for our daughters, we demand a better future for our daughters,” chanted several of the women present at the demonstrations.
The United Nations has rated Mexico as one of the most violent countries for women in the world.
According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography in Mexico (INEGI), 66.1% of all women age 15 and older in this country have experienced some kind of violence in their lives.
Mexico recorded 969 femicides in 2021, up slightly from the year before, data from INEGI indicates. Some activists estimate 10 women a day are murdered because of their gender.
Several of the attendees expressed frustration with Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
In the days leading to International Women’s Day, the president tried to present himself as an advocate for women’s rights, while simultaneously belittling their cause.
Though the demonstrations went off without violence, several activists carried around signs which read, “You think we are scary now? We can be much worse.”
Unlike during similar feminist protests and marches in years past, the sculpture at el Parque de la Madre avoided being vandalized, likely because it was preemptively fenced off.
However, several monuments including the controversial effigy of the Montejo on the Remate and the statue of Andrés Quintana Roo in Santa Ana park were vandalized. The Remate statue and its marble base had been mostly restored after it was vandalized on a previous Women’s Day rally. Unable to recover the stone, municipal workers instead had painted it over in solid white.
Also covered in spray paint and placards were the facades of several local businesses and at least one private home, especially on Paseo de Montejo.
Some media outlets have reported disagreement among event organizers regarding the inclusion of transgender women at feminist events.
On Wednesday morning, there were no reports of arrests stemming from events related to these marches and protests.
A national protest
The demonstrations mirrored protests across Mexico, including in the nation’s capital where Reuters reported mass protests. Marchers passed by the presidential palace and national monuments that had been cordoned off with huge metal fences.
Mexico City police seized Molotov cocktails, bats, hammers, and fireworks from protesters. Local media reported two protesters belonging to the so-called Black Bloc were injured after swinging at a glass bus stop, which came crashing down on top of them.