All over the globe, thousands of women took to the streets, including South Americans campaigning for access to abortions and topless demonstrations in London and Paris.
Women and children carried placards with the words “Help us”, and “Don’t Kill Us — We Are Human” at the Pazarkule border crossing between Turkey and Greece on Sunday, where thousands of migrants have gathered since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan decided to open the Turkish side of the border.
In Milan a small group of women — some wearing pink face masks — came out to show their support for the celebration, despite the region being under lockdown amid the rapid spread of coronavirus.
Italian president, Sergio Mattarella, released a video message in which he expressed regret at the need to avoid large-scale gatherings.
He said he was giving “a grateful thought to the women — and there are many — who are working in hospitals … in the red [quarantine] zones to fight the spread of the virus that worries us today”.
In France a clutch of virus deaths on Saturday took the death toll to 16, but Paris hosted several rallies — one of which was marred by violence that organisers blamed on police.
A demonstration in Kyrgyzstan also turned violent as police detained dozens of protesters — mainly women — after masked men attacked them and tore up their placards in the capital Bishkek. A police spokesman said they were detained for their own safety and because police had not been warned about the rally.
In Chile, thousands of women gathered in the capital, Santiago, demanding access to abortion and an end to violence against women.
Further north in Mexico City, women were expected to march in record numbers to the public square fronting the national palace, particularly fuelledby anger over femicides which have more than doubled over the last five years.
In the Philippines, a group of anti-imperialists, dissidents and feminists burnt an effigy of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been criticised for misogyny.
In London, 31 women from the Extinction Rebellion group formed a topless chain across Waterloo Bridge, saying their bare breasts symbolised “the vulnerability of women around the world in the face of climate breakdown”.
Many had written slogans across their naked chests including “Climate Rape”, “Climate Murder” and “Climate Abuse”.
In London and other cities the women’s strike took place, encouraging women to withdraw all work — whether paid or unpaid domestic work. “The women’s strike rejects the decades of economic inequality, criminalisation and policing, racial and sexual violence, and endless global war and terrorism,” the group said in a statement.
In Paris, topless Femen activists wearing protective glasses and masks gathered at Place de la Concorde to denounce “the patriarchal pandemic”, despite the best efforts of police to control them.
“Who’s doing the washing up?” they chanted. “We are making a revolution.”
But rights groups and politicians denounced what they said was police violence at a women’s march in Paris the night before, after scuffles broke out and police arrested nine people.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, currently seeking re-election, said she was shocked at the “unacceptable and incomprehensible” violence and expressed her solidarity with the demonstrators.
Some women tweeted pictures of marchers left battered and bruised, prompting Julien Bayou, the party secretary of Europe Ecology-The Greens, to condemn what he termed “absolutely unjustifiable police violence”.