Salvadoran women demand end to state violence, disappearances

San Salvador, Mar 8 (EFE).- Hundreds of Salvadoran women on Wednesday turned out in San Salvador on International Women’s Day to demand an “immediate” stop to violence perpetrated by the state, the violence resulting from the emergency regime and the disappearances of girls, teens and young people.

Human rights defenders, feminists and transgender women took to the streets of the capital to denounce the violations of women’s rights in the Central American country and to demand a halt to machista violence.

The marchers shouted slogans in unison alluding to International Women’s Day – known here as “8M” for March 8 – including “Listen woman, it’s your fight,” “This patriarchal system must be aborted,” “Girls don’t touch, don’t rape, don’t kill,” “The oppressor state is a macho rapist,” among others.

The marchers set out from Salvador del Mundo Square and moved along several of the capital’s main streets, ending – without any incidents – at Cuscatlan Park.

A wave of violence attributed to local gangs that took the lives of more than 80 people in late March 2022 led the government of President Nayib Bukele to ask the Legislative Assembly to approve the suspension of constitutional guarantees and impose a state of emergency.

Trans activist Bianka Rodriguez told EFE that the arbitrary arrests made by the Bukele regime “include trans people,” specifically trans women, adding that “at the time of arbitrary arrest the fundamental rights of trans people are being violated.”

“Their naked bodies are exposed to the communications media, revictimizing and warping (the public perception of) the trans people as criminals,” she said.

She added that during the 12 months of the state of emergency, the Trans Women Communication and Training Association (Concavis Trans) has registered the arrests of 39 people from the LGBTI community, including trans women.

Union member Sonia Lopez, meanwhile, told reporters that “the emergency regime has seriously affected women because today, at present, there are more than 8,000 women who have been captured … (including) many community leaders.”

Keyla Caceres, with the National Network of Women’s Collectives, told EFE that “the emergency regime is not only affecting women and other arrested people, but it’s also affecting the social fabric and loading women down even more with the crisis of cares that we had.

“We don’t have to look at the emergency regime as something isolated. It’s something that affects the social fabric and … those most affected are Salvadoran women and girls,” she added.

Caceres and Silvia Elisondo, the spokeswomen for the online Alerta Raquel initiative, also demanded an end to sexual violence and the disappearances of women, teens and young people.

“Violence against women and sexual violence will not resolved with more soldiers in the streets … It’s been made clear that the emergency regime is not focused on the prevention of violence against women, and much less on the prevention of social violence,” Caceres said.

Elisondo told EFE that “On this March 8 we’re joining together to demand due process in the investigations into disappeared people and that the Attorney General’s Office be efficient and that it provide a response to the families.”

She said that since last year, when the emergency regime was put in place, Alert Raquel has registered “48 cases of disappeared girls and women,” adding that “We’re continuing to issue alerts and that means that the disappearances of girls and women have not stopped” in El Salvador.

EFE –/bp

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