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WOMEN across the world marched, protested and went on strike yesterday to demand an end to male violence and sex discrimination.
Protesters in Spain held a 24-hour strike to mark International Women’s Day and crowds of demonstrators filled the streets of Manila, Seoul and New Delhi.
Spanish women staged dozens of demonstrations across the country against the gulf between men’s and women’s pay, and male sexual violence against women and girls.
Riot police pushed back women in Barcelona who blocked traffic in the city centre, while hundreds rallied in central Madrid to demand change.
“What we see in our job in social services is that the women are doing all the hard work, dealing with the customers, but in the positions of management it is always men,” said social worker Teresa Sonsur.
French newspaper Liberation put up its price for the day by 50 cents, but only for men, to make a point about the wage gap.
President Emmanuel Macron threatened to name and shame companies that don’t abide by sex equality laws, though he has pushed through laws to weaken workers’ rights and trade unions’ ability to fight for female employees.
At rallies in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, its largest city Karachi and the cultural capital Lahore, women denounced men’s violence against them. Nearly 1,000 women in Pakistan are killed by close relatives each year in what the male attackers call “honour killings.”
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was the target of a protest in central Manila by hundreds of activists in pink and purple shirts, who said he was among the worst violators of women’s rights in Asia.
Protest leaders sang and danced at a lively rally in Plaza Miranda, handing red and white roses to mothers, sisters and widows of people killed as part of Mr Duterte’s crackdown.
He has previously ordered soldiers to shoot female Maoist rebels in the vagina, to make them “useless.”
Hundreds of South Koreans, many wearing black and holding black “#MeToo” signs, rallied in central Seoul. South Korea’s anti-sexual violence movement has gained significant traction since January, when a female prosecutor began speaking openly about workplace mistreatment and sexual misconduct.
Several high-profile South Korean men have resigned from positions of power, including a governor who was a leading presidential contender before he was accused of repeatedly raping his female secretary.
In India, hundreds of women marched through the capital New Delhi to bring attention to domestic violence, sexual attacks and discrimination in jobs and wages.
“Unite against violence against women,” one placard urged. “Man enough to say no to domestic abuse,” said another. “My body, My choice.”
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) sent women’s day greetings but posted online a picture of a woman communist badly beaten in Tripura by men linked to the ruling BJP party, asking whether the crime was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message to women.
Violence against communists has swept Tripura since the BJP won legislative elections in the state last weekend.
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