Just meters from where they spraypainted a statue honoring the city’s founders, feminist protestors unveiled a monument to protest ongoing violence against women.
The monument was set up to commemorate International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which was observed Thursday.
The simple structure, which depicts an upward fist emerging from a makeshift grave marker, contrasts with the Christmas village erected also at the remate of the Paseo de Montejo.
During the unveiling and subsequent march, the protestors could be heard chanting slogans like “Mérida is not white, it’s femicidal,” — making reference to Mérida’s nickname, “the white city.”
Mexican law defines femicide as violence resulting in death as the result of the victim’s gender and is punishable by up to 50 years in prison.
In recent years, femicide and violence against women have been on the rise across Mexico, despite a growing social awareness of the problem.
Though most sectors of society in Yucatán recognize the problem of violence against women, there are still a handful of factions who claim that such protests are political in nature.
Feminist activists in Yucatán also used the occasion to launch a website designed to draw attention to femicide in the state. The website has a counter which claims that 79 women have lost their lives to femicide in Yucatán since 2008, as well as a section with the victims’ names.
The graffiti was contained to a single wall. The nearby monument to the Montejo, which has been vandalized several times by feminist activists was on this occasion spared, possibly as part of a deal with city officials.
The protest paralleled sentiments echoed across several other cities in Mexico and across the world in cities including Paris, Istanbul, and Madrid.
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women was designated by the UN to raise awareness of the fact that women around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence, and other forms of abuse.