Read in Catalan

The eighth of March - "8-M" in Catalonia and Spain - and once again, women have filled the streets of central Barcelona to claim effective equality and to stand up to the sexism that is still present in our day-to-day life. Around 100,000 people according to the organization, 40,000 according to the Guàrdia Urbana, of all ages - but especially young people in a context where Generation Z males have tended to react against feminism and are increasingly turning towards the extreme right - filled the centre of the Catalan capital between the Jardinets de Gràcia and the Arc de Triomf with oodles of purple and plenty of protest banners. This year, the International Women's Day demonstration in Barcelona was marked by the war in Gaza, with a large number of Palestinian flags and messages of support for the women of the Gaza Strip. In fact, the slogan of the banner that headed the demonstration was "Together against marginalization, borders and genocide" and during the reading of the manifesto there were also references to the war.

Feminists are clear: 'S'ha acabat' 

Slogans such as "Without women, there's no revolution, "If they touch one of us they touch us all", "Sister, I do believe you" or "I want to be free, not brave" which have been present in feminist demonstrations for years on March 8th shared prominence with messages such as S'ha acabat in Catalan, "It's over" in English - the slogan of the players of the Spanish national football team after the aggression of Luis Rubiales on Jennifer Hermoso. Some of the banners also denounced the harassment, assault and sexual violence that women still suffer today, with very clear messages such as “'No' is now a whole sentence.” Other women have used the March 8th spotlight to publicize, for example, artists of past centuries and their works that had never been recognized, in the shadow of male figures.

8M manifestació dia internacional de la dona / Foto: irene Vila
Women demonstrate in the streets of Barcelona this 8M / Photo: Irene Vila Capfons


Rollback of LGTBI rights

At 8pm, the end-of-march speeches began on the stage at the Arc de Triomf while a good part of the demonstration was still marching along the Ronda de Sant Pere in Barcelona. In the manifesto, the organizers of this 8-M denounced the pushback of the rights of the LGTBI collective around the world as a result of "totalitarian and misogynistic governments": "We are radically opposed to all fundamentalisms and accuse the cis-heteropatriarchal, able-ist, racist and capitalist system of violence and criminality. In the face of this, not one step back," they read amid applause. This afternoon a second demonstration was also held in Barcelona, organized by Feministes de Catalunya under the slogan "We are women and we say 'enough'".

8M manifestació dia internacional de la dona / Foto: Irene Vilà
Banners at the 8M demonstration / Photo: Irene Vilà Capfons

"The 8th of March is every day"

On a March 8th marked in part by controversial statements from Madrid Community president Isabel Díaz Ayuso asking "when will there be an international men's day", a commentary made by chauvinists year after year when the 8-M approaches, the politicians of Catalan parties who demonstrated on the streets of Barcelona condemned the message from the Madrid PP leader. Lluïsa Moret, of the PSC, asserted ironically that they will consider adding such a commemoration to the calendar when women stop "dying for being women" and when "real equality in the public and private spheres" has been achieved. Without knowing it, a group of girls who were no more than five years old with their cheeks painted purple also responded to Díaz Ayuso by energetically chanting the slogan "The eighth of March is every day" perched on the obelisk in the Plaça Cinc d'Oros, right at the start of the demonstration. And from a poster on the exterior of the nearby Palau Robert, where an exhibition is being held in honour of Núria Feliu, an image of the Catalan singer who back in 1981 sang
"mireu com ve, fent mullader, la manifestació de feministes" ("look at them coming, getting enraged, the demonstration of feminists") - an image which this Friday applauded them.