Thousands of Women March in Chile Against Fascism

Young women, adults and girls gathered at dusk in the central Plaza Italia in Santiago to march – amid chants and music – on Alameda Avenue, the main artery of downtown Santiago, which remained blocked for several hours.

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“Today I am very eager to come because of what happened in Chile; just on Sunday a fascist won who wants to violate all our rights and what we have achieved,” said to AFP a 23-year-old student who identified herself only with her first name, María Jesús, and who decided to march alone.

Kast, of the ultra-conservative Republican party, won the first round of Sunday’s presidential elections with 27.9% of the vote. On December 19, he will face a second-round run-off against left-wing deputy Gabriel Boric, who obtained 25.8%.

Kast proposes to eliminate the Ministry of Women and is against abortion and equal marriage. He also offers greater benefits only for married women.

“Why are they going to reward us for getting married? It is terrible what is happening,” added María Jesús.

Some 10,000 demonstrators, according to unofficial estimates, chanted against the candidate. They also chanted slogans rejecting sexist and sexual violence: “No is no,” they shouted in chorus.

“We are commemorating a very important date for the feminist movement. Also, in this current political moment, that scenario where women’s lives are at risk every day, new events put us at greater risk,” Gloria Leal, director of the Women’s Institute, told AFP.

“With fascism advancing, it means that our lives are in danger,” she added. 

In Chile, the feminist movement has had a breakthrough in the last two years.

The decriminalization of abortion and an equal marriage law are being discussed in Congress. In the country, abortion is allowed on three grounds: risk of life for the mother, fetal non-viability and rape.

On Thursday, Kast managed to align all the coalition forces of the Chilean ruling party ahead of the second round.

On his part, Boric, 35 years old, the minimum age to run for the presidency, also has the support of the left-wing opposition.

Also, during the day, he received the support of the president of the Medical Association, Izkia Siches, a figure who gained relevance in the country during the pandemic, who resigned from her position this Thursday to join his command.

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