Hundreds-of-thousands of women poured out onto streets around the world on Sunday to mark International Women’s Day.
From Spain to Afghanistan, women from every background made their presence felt – shouting slogans, banging pots and pans, and blocking streets in order to draw attention to continued gender inequality.
Each year March 8 is marked with a distinct theme, with 2020 celebrations branded #EachForEqual in pursuit of “a gender equal world” – in business, government, sport, healthcare, and money.
In the UK the date was marked by hundreds of people marching on Whitehall in a protest that heavily referenced he growing climate crisis at this year’s event and the impact it is having on women in some of the poorest parts of the world.
More than 30 women from Extinction Rebellion gathered on Waterloo Bridge – sometimes known as the Ladies’ Bridge – in honour of the female construction workers who helped build it – on Sunday morning and protested topless,
A spokeswoman for the group said: “It’s mainly women in poorer countries in the global south that are experiencing the increase in violence but this will be the reality for all women if the climate and ecological crisis continues to go unaddressed.”
“We are here to raise the alarm about what is happening to our sisters around the world and to tell women in the UK the climate and ecological emergency is your issue – it will affect you as a woman if we do not persuade our Government to take urgent action starting now.”
Around the world women celebrated and protested in equal measure, with scenes of a jubilant fun-run event in Belarus contrasting with asylum seekers stranded at the Turkish border holding cardboard signs and chanting.
Police in Kyrgyzstan detained dozens of women’s rights activists on Sunday shortly after journalists witnessed the protesters being attacked by masked men.
The activists gathered in one of the squares of capital Bishkek in the Central Asian country, to stage a march of solidarity against violence on International Women’s Day.
But masked men, some of whom wore traditional Kyrgyz white felt hats, attacked the protesters, grabbing and tearing apart their banners, in the presence of multiple journalists including a Reuters reporter.
The attackers left as soon as police arrived on the scene and proceeded to detain about 50 activists, mostly women.
Women and men in Islamabad, Pakistan, were pelted with stones, shoes and sticks as they joined the largest such rally in the country – the Aurat March – which is named using the Urdu word for women.
Dozens of men and women from the Red Mosque brigade, consisting of several local militant groups, staged a rival rally just across from the women’s march venue, district deputy commissioner Hamza Shafqaat said.
Police official Mazhar Niazi said the officers blocked the Islamists as they tried to break through a cordon to attack the marchers.
A Reuters witness and Niazi said the Islamists threw stones, bricks, sticks and shoes at the marchers. Niazi said no one was injured.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s Valentina Fluchaire was crowned in Thailand as winner of what is billed as the world’s biggest transgender pageant on Saturday.
Although Miss International Queen 2020 went ahead, unlike many events canceled around the world since the coronavirus outbreak emerged in China, the crowd was markedly smaller than in previous years, with many empty seats.
Fluchaire hailed her victory as a win for all trans-women in Latin America.
“This is for you, I made this for you,” she said.