More than 600 women have been murdered since the beginning of the year in this poverty-stricken Central American country, which makes this year's march against gender violence all the more imperative.
Although the inability to take time off work coupled with the fear of repression against activists to supress turnout, especially in comparison with previous years, the marchers were determined to have their voices heard. Their demand: "Ni una muerte más - Not one more death."
Gloria Trevi blared over loudspeakers as the mobilization began. The irony that the march for justice began in front of the Palacio de Justicia, the building housing the ineffectual court system that has not brought one single offender to justice, was not lost on the crowd.
At about 9:30 the march began. Music continued to play and speakers denounced violence and the lack of criminal prosecution of offenders as we marched. People held banners and signs, waved flags, and distributed literature as the demonstration snaked through the streets.
Children waved from the tops of buildings, passersby asked for literature, nodding their approval. Some even stopped what they were doing to join in with us.
Upon arrival in front of the Palacio Nacional, speakers elaborated on the problem of impunity in their country. They demanded justice for sex workers and sexual minorities. They played music and danced. Vendors hocked water, snacks, and caps bearing the image of Che Guevara, whose efforts to oppose the 1954 CIA coup against democratically-elected Jacobo Arbenz are nationally respected to the point of reverence.
The march was the initiation of the sixteen days of activism against gender violence, a global campaign that, since 1991, "has been used as an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women."1
The "sixteen days" begin on the International Day Against Violence Against Women and end on December 10, International Human Rights Day. While Violence Against Women Day is commemorated in 154 countries wordwide, it goes unrecognized in the United States despite the high rate of violent crimes against women, from domestic violence to sex slavery to child abuse.
1. About the 16 Days
. Center for Women's Global Leadership.