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International Women's Day: Protest And Celebration Around The World (PICTURES)

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International Women's Day
International Women's Day

International Women's Day has been marked across the globe with political protest as well as celebration and solemn observation.

In Britain, Karren Brady, vice-chairman of West Ham United and Alex Wek, rights campaigner and model, whose family fled South Sudan following the civil war, joined Nick Clegg in opening the London Stock Exchange.

Prime Minister David Cameron met charities and campaigners to discuss how to deal with the problem of stalking. Blogging for the Huffington Post UK, Prime Minister Cameron made a call to arms, writing:

"It is despicable that in the 21st century so many medieval practices and attitudes remain. And it is appalling that time and again, this is shoved under the carpet. People turn a blind eye and a culture of shame and secrecy is perpetuated.

"That's why ending violence against women and girls is a priority for this government. We are challenging the behind-closed-doors mentality and shining a light under the rocks to root out violence and intimidation where it's happening - at home and abroad."

Across Europe, governments made a nod to the day; the Left party in Germany marked Women's Day by sending only women to parliament to discuss female equality, all of them wearing purple scarves, the colour of IWD.

A thought-provoking exercise was set up in Seville, Spain, where women wrote messages on a giant wall, explaining what International Women's Day meant to them.

For many women across the globe, the international day was their day of empowerment, a chance to protest about issues which meant something to them.

In Manila, Philippines women hurled tomatoes and "paint bombs" at the entrance to the cities oil depot following the announcement by major oil companies of another round of oil price increases in the poverty stricken country. The US military's presence in the Philippines was also denounced, demonstrators holding giant pictures of American soldiers.

Other protesters called for female political prisoners to be released, a cause echoed in Palestine. Holding posters of Hana Shalabi, a Palestinian prisoner jailed in Israel who has been on hunger strike for 22 days, women held a rally in front of the International Red cross offices in Gaza City.

In the Sudan, nearly 800 women were released from prison to commemorate the event. Over 100 children were also released from detention centres, following increasing pressure from campaigners.

Pictures of women who had taken to the streets with children to demonstrate against the rising cost of living and increasing violence in Colombo Sri Lanka, remind onlookers that International Women's Day is is not just about women, but the overarching principle of equality and human rights.

Take a look below to see inspirational scenes of celebration and protest from around the world. Sobering pictures from Pakistan show the continuing struggle that many women in the world face, against poverty, equality, and freedom.

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