'Five in 36 Hours': Chilean Women's Rights Activists Hold Vigil to Protest Spate of Femicides


Women’s rights activists in Chile held a vigil outside La Moneda, the country’s presidential palace, Thursday to protest the murder of five women in just 36 hours. The women, who hail from every walk of life, held the protest and vigil to demand authorities take action on "femicides," under the banner “against patriarchal society, for equality at schools, work, in the street and in bed!”

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Nelly Malo, 35, was murdered on June 11 by her boyfriend following an argument, officials claim it should not be considered femicide because they didn’t live together.

Soraya Sepulveda, 29, was murdered by her husband, who went to her workplace and shot her in the head and chest. Sepulveda had logged complaints about her husband’s threat toward her with the police 2016. 

The third woman, Gertrudis Martinez, a Colombian immigrant, was murdered by an “acquaintance.”

While Gabriela Alcaino Donoso, 17, and her mother Carolina Donoso Campos, 57, were murdered by Gabriela’s former boyfriend. Jose Solis, a state prosecutor, called the murders a crime of “passion,” generating widespread criticism from activist and members of the general public. 

Several rights groups issued statements condemning the comments, including the Coordinator of Organized Women, who said: "We have been clear and sharp, the motives for femicides can in no case be a response to love or any affectionate motivations because they are the opposite.”

In Chile, women have been mobilizing to demand gender equality, and a campaign to end sexist education has reached universities and high schools across the country. At its hight 25 schools were occupied by students, today 11 of them have entered negotiations to meet the students demands.

Amanda Opazo, a spokesperson for the National Coordinator of High School Students, criticized the government and president Sebastian Piñera for what they call indifference.

“We cannot continue enduring this; we cannot stand Sebastian Piñera mentioning, for example, a case relating to an Uber and state security official, and say nothing of the five femicides that happened in less than 36 hours… Clearly, they must start legislating public policies that are coherent with the defense of women’s rights," she said.

Opazo also warned they would not negotiate with the government. “We are not going to negotiate with a machista… because they will promise us a thousand things, like they always have, and fulfill nothing.”


Latin America News


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