8M: In Argentina, women march for rights and against austerity

The first International Women’s Day march of the Milei era in Buenos Aires was marked by a heavy police presence

Colectivo NUM 8M 2024 Argentina international Women's Day

Thousands of women, girls, and queer people marched in Buenos Aires and cities around Argentina for International Women’s Day on Friday.

On the first International Women’s Day since President Javier Milei took office, the marchers’ demands included an end to hunger, austerity, layoffs, and extractivism, as well as protections for the right to legal, safe and free abortion and the right to protest. 

The Buenos Aires march started at 4 p.m. in Congress square, proceeding to Plaza de Mayo, where feminist activists read out a list of demands signed by dozens of campaign groups, social movements, unions, and other organizations.

“With our strike, we vindicate and honor the struggles of the working women who came before us,” the organizers called out from the stage. “With this day of struggle, we say that freedom is ours, not of the markets or of governments.” 

The reading emphasized that the president’s economic measures disproportionately affect women, girls and LGBTQAI+ people.

They also called for solidarity with women suffering genocide and violent conflict in Palestine, Haiti, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as Wallmapu — the Mapuche name for the Indigenous group’s ancestral lands, which encompasses parts of Argentina and Chile.

The events in the capital were marked by a heavy police presence, where officers lined major avenues to prevent protesters from blocking traffic.

Marches also took place in cities including La Plata and Mar del Plata.

“We go out on the streets with our green scarfs held high and proud to reassert that the feminist and transfeminist wave is still alive and moving to defend the historic rights we’ve conquered,” said the National Campaign for Abortion.

“Congress can’t ignore the popular power of the masses and the streets without putting the very idea of democracy at risk. Life, freedom, desire and rights are on our side,” the NiUnaMenos collective said in their statement. 

Milei and his government have adopted a consistently anti-feminist stance. When he took power, he shut down the Women, Genders, and Diversity Ministry established by the Fernández administration, and he has said he views abortion as aggravated homicide. 

In early February, deputies from Milei’s La Libertad Avanza coalition presented a bill to overturn the legalization of abortion, although the deputy who signed the bill filed it of her own initiative.

Deputy Lilia Lemoine, a close Milei ally, also sparked controversy on the campaign trail after stating during an interview that pregnant women should be required to tell the father within two weeks so he can decide whether he wants to take responsibility for the child or not.

Presidential spokesman Manuel Adorni said on Thursday that the government would not pay the day’s wages to any public employee who attended the demonstrations, and announced the Casa Rosada’s Women’s Room would be converted into the National Hero’s Room.

The Milei administration has also banned gender-neutral language in all government communications.

Attendance figures for the march were not immediately available. However, aerial photographs show that Congress Square was full.

Cover image: Courtesy of Ni Una Menos collective


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