TIJUANA (Border Report) — In Tijuana this morning, the streets and sidewalks and buses look a bit different. There were fewer women roaming around going to school or work today due to “Un Dia Sin Nosotras” or “A Day Without Women.”
But as the morning wore on, more and more women did venture out into the streets ignoring a movement to stay home to protest violence and discrimination against women. Maria de la Paz Cristiano was one of those women.
“A stoppage for a day is not going to change society, one day with out us is not going to change it,” said Cristiano.
The protest originated in the state of Veracruz, where a group calling itself “Witches of the Sea” began asking women to refrain from going to work, school, shops and basically stay home for the day on March 9, “to become invisible.”
This is to protest violence and discrimination perpetrated on women in Mexico. Statistics show 11 women a day are murdered in Mexico simply because of their gender. Last year in Mexico, 3,825 such homicides took place. Protesters call it “femicide.”
The idea for women to stay home has gained popularity in the last month or so as many universities and corporations have pledged support and have promised to close down for the day.
A group of protesters clashed with police as thousands took to the streets to mark International Women’s Day on Sunday with calls to end exploitation and increase equality.
Tensions marred part of the celebration and some clashed with police while housewives, students and mothers with small children on their shoulders took to the streets of Mexico City wearing purple shirts, bandannas and hats.
They carried signs saying “We are the heart of those that no longer beat” and “I’m marching today so that I don’t die tomorrow.”
Bands of masked women smashed windows, lit fires and spray-painting messages on buildings.
Many in the crowd cheered at the sight of vandals spraying messages like “We’re fed up.”
If the turnout in Mexico City on Sunday is any indication, the streets may be less full on March 9. Officials estimated that 80,000 women marched Sunday in Mexico City, with smaller protests throughout the country.
In Juarez, most maquiladoras, restaurants, schools and businesses remained open in spite of the plea to honor and side with the Day Without us Women movement.
At the city’s administration building, many women did take the day off with the support of Mayor Armando Cabada. It did not appear to hinder operations at city hall as few people were spotted trying to get services or pay bills.
In Tijuana, it was hard to tell what affect, if any, the event had.
Please check back with Border Report throughout the day for the latest on this protest in Mexico and for other compelling and important stories about the border.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.