The women’s march against fascism held on January 21st on the streets of Belgrade was one of 673 sister marches held around the world on the same day, amassing a total of approximately 4 million people. Somewhat more than 200 people marched on the streets of Belgrade. The protest started at Pioneer Park and ended in front of St. Sava’s Temple where activists gave speeches.

“In accordance with antifascist and anti-militaristic tradition, in the name of all our mothers and grandmothers who gave their lives so that we could walk free today, we rise against fascism”, Mina Damnjanovic said. “We believe that predominantly women bear the consequences of fascist ideology and practice”, Damnjanovic noted. “That’s why today we turn our backs to the Church, because we want to hear what women have to say, as they are the only ones that have the right to talk in their name”, she added. Ljiljana Latinovic, of the Serbian Antifascist Alliance reminded everyone that not much had changed since the nineties when there were mass street protests. “Milosevic isn’t here any more, but that’s just about the only difference. Everyone else is here, doing the same jobs they did before, which they failed to complete”, Latinovic noted and reminded that today “women initiated a mass protests to caution elected officials that we will not allow for fascism to creep back in, we will not accept that others should decide for us whether we’ll have children or how many, we will not allow for our fathers, husbands, brothers and sons to be mobilized for the purpose of looting and helping someone stay in  power”.

Minja Pavlovic, a Labris activist, emphasized that no woman is free until we’re all free, and that “lesbians are part of the feminist, left, antifascist and peace movements; standing in solidarity with all women in the struggle for abortion rights and autonomy of our bodies”. Snezana Tabacki from Women in Black reminded us of the numerous attacks they’ve been subject to, but also all other women human rights defenders, and she also pointed out the horrible situation refugees find themselves in across the world and in Serbia – all of which indicates a global rise of fascism. She ended her speech by emphasizing that we, as antifascists, have a responsibility to “always be disobedient”.

Natalija Laptosevic, a feminist activist, talked about prejudice held about abortions – namely, that there are repercussions to abortions. “The only thing that really exists is the sense of guilt society imposes on us”, she noted and reminded that 50 years ago women protested on the streets to fight for legal abortions, and that today we are here again for the same reason, and that we’ll continue protesting for the same reason until all women have the same rights. Sanja Pavlovic of the Autonomous Women’s Center talked about how the Church attacks women’s rights. “We have decided to finish this protest in front of the Church because we don’t want to see any more men on the Republic Square on every seventh day of the month protesting against abortion and spreading hate against women! We are in front of the Church because we don’t want priests as decision makers who are deciding on population policies. This isn’t a plea, this isn’t a dialogue we want to have with the Church, and this isn’t something we’ll compromise on” Pavlovic noted.

Protesters carried signs and shouted women’s rights slogans and against fascism. When the march reached St. Sava’s Temple a backdrop to the speeches were Pussy Riot songs, the “Witch Song” and “Ay Carmela”.

The women’s march against fascism was organized in solidarity with women in the U.S.A. because (as was stated in the invitation) “we don’t want to be silent witnesses at a time when the new president of the leading world power is preparing to implement a violently sexist, women-hating, homophobic, xenophobic and racist ideology that he has advocated during his whole campaign”.

Media reported that the protest held a day after Donald Trump’s inauguration in the United States numbered about 3 million people and that it was the biggest ever in US history. An additional million protested across the world (a list of women’s marches is available HERE), while you can find photos from various countries, including Serbia, on the New York Time’s web site HERE.

Women are rising, women are wide awake!
Photos by: Marija Jankovic

Photo / video gallery
Photos by: Marija Janković

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