tens of thousands of women mobilized in the run-up to elections

At the 34th edition of the National Women's Meeting in La Plata, the protesters addressed their demands to the presidential candidates of 27 October.

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Meetings on San Martin Square, La Plata, October 13, 2019, during the National Meeting of Women in Argentina. Angeline Montoya for "The World"

The rain almost made everything miss. The inauguration ceremony of the 34th National Women's Meeting (ENM) in Argentina, which was announced massive, had to be canceled, Saturday, October 12 in the morning, when the waters were falling down on the city. Finally, the mobilization broke all records, with more than 200,000 women Sunday night in the streets of La Plata, sixty kilometers from Buenos Aires.

National Women's Meetings have been held every year for three days since 1986. Tens of thousands of women (there were only a thousand thousand thirty-four years ago in Buenos Aires) converge on a different city every year , and discuss in workshops major topics related to women.

With two weeks of presidential and legislative elections on October 27, this year's ENMs had a special flavor. The main demands – the right to abortion, the fight against gender violence, sexual education at school and the rights of minorities – were addressed to the outgoing government of Mauricio Macri, but also to the one who dominates polls, Alberto Fernandez (center left), credited in recent days with 52% of the votes, against only 32% for Mr. Macri.

At the very moment when this crowd of women was converging on La Plata Stadium, the first debate between the six presidential candidates – all men – was broadcast on television. Only two of them spoke in favor of the legalization of abortion: the candidate of the Front of the United Left, Nicolas del Caño, said bluntly, " 100% favorable ", while Alberto Fernandez stated that "Strive towards legalization".

"Green tide"

The National Campaign for the Right to Abortion at the National Women's Meeting in La Plata, Argentina, October 12, 2019.
The National Campaign for the Right to Abortion at the National Women's Meeting in La Plata, Argentina, October 12, 2019. Angeline Montoya for "Le Monde"

"I attended the 34 National Women's Meetings without missing any, and it had never been so massive," says Nina Brugo, a 75-year-old lawyer and one of the founders of the National Campaign for the Right to Abort, the group behind the abortion legalization project debated – and rejected – in Parliament in 2018.

Sunday's protest stretched for about three kilometers. For more than four hours, a "green tide", the color of the scarves that symbolize the fight for the right to abortion, has invaded the streets of this city of 750,000 inhabitants.

"If the pope were a woman, abortion would be legal," were singing the protesters, or " Alert, alert, feminist struggle walks in the streets of Argentina; Machists, be careful, all of Latin America is going to be feminist! " Rare incidents ensnared the procession, when a small group decided to throw stones and Molotov cocktails against the cathedral, while the official course avoided it carefully. Seven people were briefly detained.


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