CIUDAD JUAREZ – Protesters in Ciudad Juárez joined others across Mexico on International Women’s Day in marching to demand justice amid escalating violence against women and girls.
About 500 demonstrators gathered at the Paso del Norte Bridge ahead of the march through downtown Juárez to remember missing and murdered women and girls in El Paso’s sister city.
Speakers called on the mayor of Juárez and governor of Chihuahua to do more to protect women and girls.
“This is for the families whose daughters are missing. This is for families in this city that has suffered for more than 30 years with femicides,” said Jessica Morales, an organizer with Pan y Rosas.
Some murders date back decades and others are recent as Juárez copes with a new spike in violence. The vast majority of the killings, like most violent crime in Mexico, are unsolved and unpunished.
Last year alone, 3,000 women were murdered in Mexico, with at least 1,000 defined as “femicides,” or killing women because of their gender, according to the federal government.
Juárez remains notorious for its murdered women even as the city also became known for a brutal drug war that claimed the lives of thousands of men as well.
Lucia Marcial Mulato, 35, said last year the bodies of four women were dumped in her working-class neighborhood.
“It’s very sad. We don’t want that to happen to any more women. We deserve respect and demand security,” Marcial Mulato said.
She did not go to work at a maquiladora on Sunday so she could attend the women’s march. She said it was the first day in seven years she has missed a shift.
On Monday, thousands more women across Mexico plan to miss work. A “Day without Women” is planned to protest violence targeting women and girls.
Many of the women and some men demonstrating on International Women’s Day brought their children to the march in Ciudad Juárez. Several pushed baby strollers. Maria Gomez Hernandez said it was especially important for her 7-year-old daughter Angelica to participate.
“This is for her,” Gomez Hernandez said.
Several women from El Paso also attended the demonstration, including Jamie O’Quinn. She came to support Casa Amiga, an organization that helps victims of domestic violence in Ciudad Juárez.
“I think it’s really important for women from the U.S. side of the border to show up and turn to the leadership of women who are on the ground organizing in Juárez and just show our support,” O’Quinn said.