NEW YORK — From the streets of Manila to the plazas of Santiago, Chile, people around the world marked International Women’s Day on Sunday with calls to end exploitation and increase equality.
But tensions marred some celebrations, with police reportedly using tear gas to break up a demonstration by thousands of women in Turkey and security forces arresting demonstrators at a rally in Kyrgyzstan.
“In many different ways or forms, women are being exploited and taken advantage of,” Arlene Brosas, the representative of a Filipino advocacy group said during a rally that drew hundreds to the area near the presidential palace. Protesters called for higher pay and job security, and demanded that President Rodrigo Duterte respect women’s rights.
Turkish riot police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of demonstrators who, in defiance of a government ban, tried to march along Istanbul’s main pedestrian street to mark International Women’s Day, media reports said.
Turkish authorities declared Istiklal street, near Istanbul’s main Taksim square, off-limits, and said the planned march down the avenue was unauthorized. Thousands of demonstrators, most of them women, gathered near Istiklal regardless and tried to break through police barricades to reach it, according to the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper and other media.
The independent T24 news website said police also fired blanks to disperse the crowd.
Several demonstrators were detained, according to Cumhuriyet.
Turkish authorities have restricted protests in the country in recent years, citing security. Police had set up barricades on all streets leading to Istiklal and closed down the nearest subway stop.
In Pakistan, however, women managed to rally in cities across the country, despite petitions filed in court seeking to stop them. The opposition was stirred in part by controversy over a slogan used in last year’s march: “My Body, My Choice.”
Some conservative groups had threatened to stop this year’s marches by force. But Pakistani officials pledged to protect the marchers. The rallies are notable in a conservative country where women often do not feel safe in public places because of open harassment. The main Islamic political party, Jamaat-e-Islami, organized its own rallies to counter the march.
One of the largest demonstrations occurred in Chile, where crowds thousands flooded the streets of the capital with dancing, music and angry demands for gender equality and an end to violence against women…..