MEXICO CITY (AP) — Several hundred feminist activists warmed up with chants last Saturday next to a monument to murdered Mexican women before filling a street in the capital and dousing female police officers with red paint.
It was the latest in a series of rowdy all-female protests that have flooded central avenues since August 2019, when thousands of women took to the streets of Mexico City in anger over the alleged rape of a teenager by city police and rampant violence against women.
Now, the feminists themselves feel like targets after two of their fellow activists were murdered this month in different parts of the country. “Once again the women are taking to the streets to shout to society that they are killing us,” said Nelly Ornelas, 24, who belongs to a collective called ‘Love is Not Violence’, which seeks to stamp out domestic violence.
On average, 10 women are murdered every day in Mexico, making it one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women. Only one of every 10 reported crimes in Mexico results in jail time.Ornelas thinks the shooting death last week of women’s rights activist Isabel Cabanillas in Ciudad Juarez, a city just south of El Paso, Texas, was meant as a message to the women who are fighting for greater safety.
In August 2019, female protesters shocked Mexico by trashing a bus station, a police precinct and defaced the base of a major monument in the capital, the Angel of Independence with spray paint. Those who complained about the graffiti, the protesters argued, care more about statues than real women.
Defacing monuments along the city’s stately Reforma Avenue has since become a priority for some, who wear masks to conceal their identities.