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Protest Against Church’s Edicts on Reproductive Rights Sparks Ire Among Guatemala’s Conservatives

LADB Article ID: 80578
Category/Department: Guatemala
Date: 2018-04-26
By: Louisa Reynolds

A group of Guatemalan women commemorated International Women’s Day on March 8 by marching on the streets of Guatemala City carrying a vulva-shaped piñata. The march, named “the Procession of the Powerful Vulva,” aimed to highlight sexual and reproductive rights issues in Guatemala. In the process, it mocked the Catholic tradition of holding Easter processions in which a statue of Christ or the Virgin Mary is paraded through the streets.The six-block procession began in Morazán Park and ended in the city’s central square, Plaza de la Constitución, where protestors lit purple candles in remembrance of 56 teenage girls who were killed in a blaze in the Virgen de la Asunción state-run youth shelter on March 8, 2017. Some demonstrators shaved their heads in the middle of the square in solidarity with the mothers of the teenage girls who died. The tragedy exposed a long history of abuse in the Virgen de la Asunción shelter, including the systematic rape and physical abuse of vulnerable girls who had been declared wards of the state by the courts because they were orphans, or had suffered domestic or sexual violence, or had been forced into prostitution.

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