International Women’s Day protest march in Belgrade

Photo: Matija Jovanović / Mašina

A protest march marking International Women’s Day took place in Belgrade.

Women are not machines for giving birth, women are not cheap labour force, and women will not tolerate violence by men,

as Aleksandra Nestorov from the Women Against Violence network, one of the organizers of the gathering, stated for Masina. Same ideas brought around a thousand people to the Republic square in Belgrade today. After the initial speeches given by the organizers and a performance given by the antifascist choir Naša pjesma (Our song) they marched in protest through Terazije square, across President’s headquarters and to the Serbian Government headquarters, where they have addressed the public again. The gathering ended at the Centre for Cultural decontamination (CZKD).

Nestorov added that the protest was meant as a message to the state that a return to traditional gender roles is out of the question.

There can be no going back in time, we will protect our rights with our lives, if need be. Primarily the right to an abortion. Socialist Yugoslavia was one of the first three countries to acknowledge this right and make it a part of its Constitution, back in 1977.

Photo: Matija Jovanović / Mašina

A stop took place in front of the headquarters of Eurobank at Terazije square, where a protest announcement addressed to this company was read.

One of the protesters, Nemanja Pantović from the organization Krov nad glavom (Roof Over One’s Head), explained to us that a first post-election forced eviction is scheduled to take place on the 9th of March at eight o’clock AM at King Aleksandar boulevard in Belgrade. According to Pantović, the person to be evicted is Silvia Maurer, a woman living alone, belonging as such to a group most frequently targeted by the bailiffs”.

Eurobank covered up a scam involving a private company who forged the identity of the owner of the apartment and rewrote the entry in the cadastre, stating themselves as the owners, in order to burden the apartment in question with a mortgage, stated Pantovic.

The freezing, windy weather was presented no obstacle to the ones who took part in the march to show up, although Milica Lupšor, a member of Left Summit of Serbia and one of the march’s organizers stated that “There could have been more people”. She explained the hesitations some people could have had to join the march:

I’m sorry that many women fear to express their discontent at a public gathering. The change is sure to come, and many of these women will surely join similar protests, where women fight for things that matter in their lives, in the years to come. Mutual women’s solidarity will grow.

Photo: Matija Jovanović / Mašina

The protest was organized as a part of an international initiative of women gathering under the “Women’s strike” slogan to stand up against decades of economic inequality, criminalization and police torture, racial and sexual violence, and endless global warfare and terrorism.

Women from more than thirty countries took part in preparing this initiative. Supported by labour unions, women in Spain went on a 24–hour strike. Mass protests have been held in Ukraine, South Korea, Pakistan, India, China, Philippines and Uganda, among other places.

The international Women’s Day strike in Belgrade was organized by: Women Against Violence , Reconstruction Women’s Fund, Women fond, Labris – Organization for Lesbian Human Rights, Astra, Women’s network, Women in Black network – Serbia, Rasina County Women’s Network, Left Summit of Serbia and Women’s Strike Plenum.

Photo: Matija Jovanović / Mašina

Photo: Matija Jovanović / Mašina

Photo: Matija Jovanović / Mašina

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