Socialist Worker

Big protests in Ireland, the US and across the world mark International Women's Day

by Eleanor Claxton-Mayer and Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2545

Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Dublin, Ireland, for the Strike4repeal

Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Dublin, Ireland, for the Strike4repeal (Pic: People Before Profit)


Protests for abortion rights and against sexist governments took place across the world to mark International Women’s Day today, Wednesday.

The actions took place under the banner of an International Women’s Strike.

Thousands of people took to the streets in Irish cities such as Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Waterford to demand abortion rights.

The demonstration in Dublin culminated in at least 3,000 people meeting on O'Connell Bridge bringing the city centre to a standstill for at least an hour.

The protests were part of the Strike4repeal campaign, demanding the repeal of the 8th amendment which makes abortion illegal in Ireland.

People Before Profit TD Brid Smith joined the protest in Dublin. She told Socialist Worker that the protest was “very impressive and was young lively and independent.”

When marching from parliament to join the protest, “you couldn't move for the hundreds of students coming out to join those on the bridge.”

Protests also took place in Britain. In London more than 700 lively and angry people gathered outside the Irish embassy in solidarity with protesters in Ireland. Other soldarity protests took place in Oxford and Cambridge

Brid said the campaign to legalise abortion is, “a very strong movement. They're not going to sit back if the government try and impose restrictions”.

She added, “This is a global issue."

Defiance

A possible 60 protests marked International Women’s Day in the US, in a roar of defiance against sexist president Donald Trump.

The protests ranged from hour-long morning walkouts by teachers in Philadelphia to big demonstrations in cities such as New York and Chicago.

Some schools were shut down as part of the day. In Prince George’s County, Maryland, a statement from the CEO of public schools read, “1,700 teachers and 30 percent of transportation staff have requested leave.”

Trump has launched vicious attacks on women since coming to office a little over a month ago.

One of his first acts as president was to re-introduce the “global gag” rule which denies aid to organisations that provide abortion counselling.

Trump has also moved to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides reproductive health care and advice to women, of its £400 million in federal funding.

Yesterday, Trump said that the organisation could keep the funding if it stopped carrying out abortions—an offer that was rejected.

Dawn Laguens from Planned Parenthood said, “Offering money to Planned Parenthood to abandon our patients and our values is not a deal that we will ever accept.

“Providing critical health care services for millions of American women is non-negotiable”.

Many activists in the US saw the Women's Strike protests as part of the wider movement against Trump. They are building for bigger action, including protests on May Day, 1 May, and link their protests with other struggles, such as the fight against the travel ban.

A spokesperson from the LA Women’s Strike told Socialist Worker, “The travel ban and the policy that separates mothers and children are exactly why we participate in the strike”.

Protests also took place in other countries. The growth of the far-right in countries across Europe and the US gives confidence to those who want to roll back women’s rights. But the protests today show they’ll face resistance.


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