Argentina's women protest for legal abortion, against violence

Buenos Aires (AFP) –


Thousands of Argentine protesters flooded the streets of Buenos Aires on Monday in a show of force for the abortion rights movement, and to denounce violence against women.

Since 2015, June 3 has been a day of demonstration in the country for women and members of the LGBT community who want to put an end to the killings of women, which have not abated despite increased public awareness.

Women of all ages -- sporting the green scarves that have become the symbol of the abortion rights movement, and purple for women's rights -- took to the streets, as they did a week ago and on International Women's Day in March.

"We feel this pain. We want gender-based violence to be more visible. We are asking the government to help us, we feel abandoned," said 45-year-old Giovanna Lujan, whose daughter Monica Garnica was murdered.

Garnica died at age 24 in January 2018, 18 days after being sprayed with alcohol and set on fire by her husband, the father of her three young children.

Argentina, a country of 44 million people, recorded 278 cases of femicide last year, according to official data.

The non-governmental organization Casa del Encuentro says that between 2008 and 2019, nearly 3,000 cases of femicide were recorded, leaving more than 3,700 children, most of them minors, without their mothers.

"Sexist violence is killing us, as is the state's absence," said one banner raised by a group of women from Moron, a suburb of Buenos Aires.

Abortion rights activists are making a new push for the legalization of the procedure, which was narrowly defeated in the Senate last year, after it passed in the Chamber of Deputies.

A new bill to decriminalize abortion was introduced last week by members of a range of parties, including President Mauricio Macri's ruling center-right Cambiemos coalition and left-wing opposition parties.

With a general election set for October, observers say the bill is unlikely to return to the Senate before the end of this year.