Feminist strike culminates in rallies across Catalonia
200,000 fill the centre of Barcelona to protest discrimination, with similar demonstrations in most major cities
Tens of thousands of women all over Catalonia downed tools on March 8 -International Women’s Day- to take part in the first feminist strike protesting gender inequality and discrimination at work and in society. In Spain as a whole, 5.3 million workers stopped work at some point during the day in support of the feminist claims, according to the main unions.
In the evening demonstration in Barcelona, around 200,000 people march towards gender equality, according to the local police.
While the day began with protesters disrupting traffic and public transport, the main focus of the strike were the demonstrations that followed, culminating in the mass rally in Barcelona that began in the Jardinets de Gràcia at 6.30pm. The protesters then moved down the passeig de Gràcia avenue to one of the city’s most central points, Catalunya square.
With similar protests taking place simultaneously in cities across Catalonia and Spain, a manifesto was read out in plaça Catalunya, recognizing women’s historic struggle for equality, calling on women to work together and urging them to continue to campaign against gender-based violence, aggression, humiliation, marginalization and exclusion.
“Today, our streets are filled with women for the feminist strike and I am sure this will become a turning point”
Ada Colau · Barcelona mayor
Earlier in the day, a protest took place in Sant Jaume square in Barcelona, outside the Catalan government and city council buildings. Barcelona mayor Ada Colau addressed the thousands who had gathered in the square, saying “today our streets are filled with women for the feminist strike and I am sure this will become a turning point.”
Meanwhile, in Catalonia’s northern city of Girona, more than 2,000 people, mostly women, gathered in the main square to protest against gender discrimination. The protesters were joined by students from the University of Girona and they went on to form a human chain that passed along the winding stone streets of the city’s old quarter.
In Tarragona, in the south of the country, two protests took place, one organized by the main unions, and another called by the 8M del Camp platform that attracted over 2,000 people. In Catalonia’s western capital of Lleida, meanwhile, over a thousand people filled the main square in a protest at which a manifesto was read out against gender-based violence.
Other large rallies that attracted thousands of people also took place in the evening in other major urban centres in Catalonia, such as L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Sabadell and Badalona.