Thousands of women took to the streets in Paris, Berlin, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt as part of the activities to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on 25 November organised by the the Kurdish Women’s Movement in Europe, (TKJ-E)protesting against gender-based violence.
The Kurdish Women’s Movement in Europe announced that on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, “It is time to defend free women”.
Due to the increasing pedophilia and child violence in France, the “NousToutes” (We All), platform formed this year by 60 women’s organisations, trade unions, political parties and associations, launched a protest in Paris on Saturday, for 20 November which was World Children’s Day.
The women, who took to the streets in many cities across the country, including the French capital, Paris, criticised the French government and stressed that more longer-lasting measures should be taken on gender based violence.
Women groups, including the Kurdish Women’s Movement, gathered in the afternoon for a march to Republic Square. Kurdish women chanted their slogans and danced traditional Kurdish folk dance known as “govend”.
Women in Frankfurt on Saturday organised a rally in Frankfurt upon the invitation of the Kurdish Women’s Union-Germany, the YKJ-E.
Before the rally, some protesters staged some street drama illustrating the resistance of women against gender-based violence.
The women then held a massive march, holding their banners and photographs of murdered Kurdish women and female fighters who were killed during the battle against ISIS in North East Syria.
Some women in the march wore butterfly costumes as a tribute to Mirabel sisters who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic and were involved in clandestine activities against his regime. The three sisters were assassinated on 25 November 1960. The assassinations turned the Mirabal sisters into “symbols of both popular and feminist resistance”. In 1999, in their honor, the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Kurdish women in Dusseldorf gathered for a rally on Saturday, in which Tamil women also attended.
“We, the women, do not only take to the streets on 25 November. We are always on the streets, because we are constantly subjected to violence,” Ayten Kaplan, said during her speech at the Dusseldorf protest, speaking on behalf of the YJK-E.
“Gender-based violence,” Kaplan said, “is not an individual, family-related issue, it is a social problem. Therefore we need social change.”
“Sri Lanka targets especially the women in order to weaken the struggle of Tamil people, because women lead the resistance in our country,” a Tamil speaker said.
She went on: “We have a similar campaign, to the campaign of the Kurdish women to prosecute dictator Erdoğan, against Sri Lanka government. We have documented the evidence of the murder of 100 women killed by the state and with the signatures we collect, we will present this file to the United Nations.”
“Network against Femicide” on Saturday organised a rally in Berlin. Hundreds of women gathered in Nettelbeekplatz, which is known as the “Square of Resistance” by women in Berlin.
Chanting the slogan in Kurdish slogan “Jin – Jiyan – Azadi” (“Women, Life, Freedom”), women carried the photos of Deniz Poyraz, Hevrin Khalaf, Sakine Cansız and Roza Luxemburg.
Kurdish women’s organisations’ call for 25 November
Various Kurdish women’s organisations have issued statements for the upcoming 25 November.
Kurdistan Communities of Women, the KJK, on Sunday, stated in a written statement that women’s revolution, which was made in Rojava, continues around the world with the resisting women, from Chile to Afghanistan as the Kurdish Women’s Movement in Europe, the TJK-E, earlied on Friday announced its calendar of 25 November protests across Europe.
“Let us organise all together the struggle of women against the global system of patriarchy, colonialism, fascism, racism and capitalism. Let us organise Women’s Global Democratic Confederalism, which is how we call the alternative system built by women, the global alliance and democratic relations of women’s organisations around the world,” the KJK said.
The KJK said this 25 November marks the time for freedom for women: “As the KJK we call on all women who seek freedom around the world, on all women’s organisations: Let us build women’s democratic confederalism all together against the thousands-year-old patriarchy. Let us call the time as the time for women, time for freedom, time for revolution!”
The TJK-E also announced that their campaign “100 reasons to prosecute Erdoğan for his femicidal crimes” will complete its first year on 25 November. “Our struggle to prosecute Erdoğan for his crimes against women will continue. We will also continue our struggle to enlighten the Paris massacre and to stop the crimes against women in Afrin,” the TKJ-E said.