The fencing erected to protect Mexico’s National Palace ahead of a planned march to mark International Women’s Day has been turned into a memorial for 939 victims of femicide.
Femicide is the term used for homicides that deliberately target women. The makeshift memorial was put up near the front of the colonial-era building that serves as the president’s offices ahead of a planned International Women’s Day march. Activists wrote: “Victims of Femicide” in huge letters across the top of the barriers, with the names of women scrawled underneath.
A day earlier, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was criticized by women’s groups for ordering the National Palace and the Palace of Fine Arts to be surrounded by barriers, asking what he was afraid of. The president responded by saying that the barriers were put up “not out of fear, but to prevent provocations and to protect historic buildings.”
On Sunday (March 7), in a video posted on social media, the president insisted that he had always believed in equality and also lashed out at those he described as conservative critics who aim to attack his government. “I’m not a male chauvinist. I’m in favor of the rights of women,” he said, pledging never to repress the free assembly of protesters.
However, activists say that the government has not done enough to combat violence against women. “We women want to ask for justice and that people understand, and that the president, who lives here, knows that we’re fighting because they are killing us,” one activist who only gave her first name, Marcela, told Reuters.
Women’s activists are planning activities all across Mexico. In Ciudad Juárez, a city infamous for the high number of women who have gone missing from there over the years, relatives of the disappeared held up pink crosses with the slogan “not one more” in protest over the weekend.