Across South-East Europe, Marchers Stand Up for Women’s Rights

Dozens of people protested on Tuesday in front of the Russian embassy in Moldova’s capital, Chisinau, against the invasion of Ukraine.

Protesters chanted “We want peace!” and “No to War in Ukraine”, carrying Ukrainian flags and placards denouncing Russian aggression.

They also had messages for women in Ukraine who either stayed to fight or left the country with their children: “Women in Ukraine, you are heroines!” said one placard.

In Albania’s capital, Tirana, dozens marched from Skanderbeg Square to the prime minister’s office, demanding a safe life, equal pay and the end of gender stereotypes.

“This March 8, we marched for freedom. Freedom to live without fear, and be safe. Freedom to have decent wages and working conditions. Freedom to organise in unions. Freedom for a life free of violence and oppression. Freedom to love, think and act,” the Feminist Collective in Albania, one of the organisers of the march, said on its Facebook page.

In Tirana, there was also an installation entitled ‘Red Shoes’, in remembrance of all women, killed or raped by men.

In Greece, unions of teachers, municipal workers, cleaners, artists, hospitals workers and journalists, student associations, women’s associations and migrant associations participated in a protest in Athens demanding an end to sexism and the system that creates it.

Marchers also displayed anti-war slogans, saying that women and children are the first victims of wars.

A women’s march from the central city square to the state parliament was held in the Montenegrin capital Podgorica under the slogan “Stop the Femicide”, organised by the NGO Women’s Rights Centre.

“Despite our calls, state institutions remained silent on the last three cases of femicide in Montenegro. Violence against women is increasing in our country and parliament needs to react,” said Maja Raicevic, head of the Women’s Rights Centre.

In Kosovo, there were marches in several cities including the capital Pristina and Mitrovica.

Activists released a long red carpet from the Ombudsperson Institution building, a symbol of the bloodshed by women who were killed by men.

Dozens of Kosovo citizens joined in the march in Pristina, holding placards with slogans like “Justice for the murdered women”, “We march, we don’t celebrate” and “Who is protecting us from the police?” Red paint was thrown at the Kosovo Police building and the Kosovo Judicial Council.

Meanwhile in Turkey, the annual Feminist Night Walk will take place on Tuesday evening in Istanbul and is expected to attract thousands of women.

The walk will be the first one after Turkey exited the Istanbul Convention on women’s rights in 2021. The Istanbul Governorate has banned the event and cancelled all bus and subway connections to Istanbul’s iconic Istiklal Street, but women’s groups have said they will march anyway despite the risk of clashes with police, as there have been at the women’s march in the past couple of years.