BUENOS AIRES – Argentine feminist movements commemorated on Wednesday the fifth anniversary of a milestone in their recent history, the “Not one [woman] less” campaign.
Despite quarantine measures due to the coronavirus epidemic, which has exacerbated gender violence, the activists tried to make their cries heard in the streets again.
“Our rights and our fights are not quarantined because we cannot continue to allow more femicides in our country and in the world,” Cele Fierro, national leader of the Socialist Workers Movement, told EFE.
Fierro was one of the dozens of people who symbolically went to demonstrate in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, one of the places where the “Not one less” chants roared for the first time, spreading throughout Argentina first and the rest of Latin America and further afield afterwards.
While millions of people have celebrated anniversaries and gatherings online, various left-wing groups convened on the street gathering, “with the necessary social distancing,” said Fierro.
It is a delicate moment for the Argentine capital, the focus of coronavirus infections in the country, where to date there have been 18,319 cases.
In front of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires, the protesters asked for the end of public financial aid to the Church and that these funds instead be used for policies against gender violence and to implement the Ley de Educacion Sexual Integral (ESI), a sex education law.
“That they be eliminated, that the millionaire subsidies received by the Catholic Church and the rest of the churches be ended, and that this money be destined to combat gender violence,” said Fierro.
Another of the assistants, the union secretary of the Teaching Association of Secondary and Higher Education, Vanesa Gagliardi, said that “the only curve that did not flatten is that of domestic violence, of femicides and transgender killings.”
The mandatory confinement in Argentina to curb COVID-19 contagion began on March 20, but softer measures began on March 13. Since then there have been 61 femicides in the country, according to data from the organization Women of the Latin American Matriarchy (Mumala).
According to Mumala, there have been 124 femicides so far this year in Argentina, one death every 29 hours.
The “Not one less” mobilizations began after the murder, at the hands of her boyfriend, of Argentinian teenager Chiara Paz, who was pregnant at the time of her death.
Since June 3, 2015, the date of the first demonstration, Argentina has mourned 1,440 femicides.
“Currently, the situation has not changed – it has worsened. More and more women are murdered, there are more and more situations of abuse. It has been shown that it is not enough with the complaints,” said Romina del Pla, national deputy of the Workers’ Left Front (FIT).
For del Pla, the problem is that “there are no government operations or measures for real protection.”
Currently, Alberto Fernandez governs the country with Cristina Fernandez as vice president, after four years during which the now opposition figure Mauricio Macri (2015-2019) was head of the government.
On his Twitter account, the current president called on people to follow the “path” of the movement.
“Five years ago, there was a milestone in our recent history. #NiUnaMenos (Not one less) expressed the violence and inequality that women suffer and that forces us, men in particular and society in general, to rethink roles and behaviors,” wrote the leader.
Minister for Women, Gender and Diversity, Elizabeth Gomez Alcorta, said the movement “guides” the work in her portfolio, created with the new government.
“Because we want to be alive and free,” Gomez Alcorta said on her Twitter.
Despite the fact that only a limited number of protesters gathered on the street, many other Argentinians commemorated the anniversary on the internet with the hashtag #NiUnaMenos, which was trending in Argentina throughout the day.
Many of the messages also demanded the legalization of abortion in the country.
The government has promised to send a bill to Congress in that regard, after a failed attempt came close to being approved in 2018.
With their masks on, protesters sang “legal abortion in the hospital,” one of the most used slogans in feminist marches in recent years, in the square and in front of the cathedral.