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article imageHundreds march on Toronto streets for International Women's Day Special

By Andrew Moran     Mar 13, 2011 in Politics
Toronto - "Our City, Our Services, Our Future" was the primary focus Saturday during the annual International Women's Day march and rally in downtown Toronto. The demonstration demanded the end of cuts to city services and an end to women's violence.
On Mar. 8 every year, millions of people around the world celebrate women. It focuses on the achievements made by women on all fronts, including economically, socially and politically. It is a day of general appreciation of how much women have contributed to society in the past, in the present and in the future.
Under cloudy skies and cold temperatures, hundreds of people marched from Bloor and St. George streets east to Yonge Street and south to Gould Street (Ryerson University) calling for an end to the municipal public and social services cuts. It also urged the public to end the harassment and violence that women face.
Members from such organizations as the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW), Jane Finch Green Jobs Coalition, Toronto Women’s City Alliance, the Pothikai Tamil Women’s Organization joined the rally and march Saturday.
Representatives from some of other organizations, including Rathika Sitsabaiesan of TTC Riders and Maru Maesa of Migrante, delivered speeches as well at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education auditorium.
“I think this day is one of the most important days of the year,” said Brenda McCann, a University of Toronto student who studies sociology. “Women have been one of the most persecuted people in the world. And to some extent, we still are. Wages are not in line with men, we’re not able to rise in the workplace and sexual harassment and violence still persists.”
Marches and rallies took place all over the world. According to Press TV, thousands of mothers, wives, sisters and daughters rallied and celebrated the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. The demonstration also congratulated President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on being the first democratically elected female President of Argentina.
Meanwhile, a smaller rally took place in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Tuesday, reports the Winnipeg Free Press. Approximately 200 people marched to the steps of the provincial legislature.
Not all nations were able to celebrate the day, though. Agence-France Presse reports that Cambodia implemented a ban on women’s day rallies. The Cambodian government refused to provide a specific reason as to why it was prohibited.
Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuk Tema was one of the signees of the ban, told reporters that he was too busy to comment on the decision.
“It's a sad commentary on the current state of human rights in Cambodia,” said Deputy Asia Director at the New York-based Human Rights Watch. “It says that the government is not committed to permitting a free exercise of the right to associate and the right to assemble. Women have to organise to assert their rights in countries like Cambodia.”
Organizers of the rally will now hold a 1,800-person rally at someone’s home. "Our planned rally does not serve any political party. We .all just want to celebrate women,” said Cambodian Women's Movement Organization President Meas Morokot.
More about International Women's Day, toronto march, Toronto rally, Rob Ford
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