Thousands take to the streets on Women’s Day
Several demonstrations across the country ahead of the big one in Barcelona in the evening
Thousands of people took to the streets on Thursday afternoon in several demonstrations across Catalonia for the International Women’s Day. The marches are quite typical for this day, but what makes this year unique is the call for the first ‘feminist’ general strike in the country. This action has prompted people to take to the streets. For instance, in Barcelona just after noon thousands of people gathered at Plaça Universitat (University Square) in a demo called by students. Meanwhile, thousands filled Plaça Sant Jaume (St James’ Square), the seat of the Catalan executive and Barcelona local government, in an event called by trade unions.
Other demonstrations in the country include one in the Montserrat Roig Gardens, close to the Sagrada Família, where around 500 female journalists demanded equality in their profession. Some other major Catalan towns, including Tarragona and Lleida, hosted other feminist demonstrations, as well as Girona, where a human chain sought to achieve “real equality” for women and men. Other protests in the early morning included road cuts provoking some traffic disruptions.
Following of the strike
The two main trade unions in the country called for two-hour stoppages, while some other minor unions extended the strike for the whole day. Thus, it is not easy to count the people who join the protests. Spanish-wide unions said that 5.3 million workers (out of the 18 million in the country) went on strike, while the major union in Catalan education said that around 20% of employees in the sector gave up work for a day.
Specifically in the health sector, major trade union CCOO said that 85% of workers went on strike in public hospitals, 100% in private hospitals and geriatrics. The Catalan business association Pimec said that around 10% of the workers followed it. In a statement, Pimec said that it has “observed a great awareness” with the cause. The strike was relevant in universities, with for instance one in four lectures being suspended in the University of Lleida.