Mexico’s annual Day of the Dead celebrations took a sharply political turn this year, as hundreds of protesters used the day to draw attention to the grave injustice of some of those deaths: female victims.
Reuters reported that activists wearing traditional Dia de los Muertos face paint marched through Mexico City chanting “not one more” — the rallying cry of a growing movement calling awareness to femicides throughout Latin America.
Femicides are murders that occur primarily because the victim is female. According to Reuters, there were 2,735 femicides in Mexico last year, and femicides have risen nearly 25% during the presidency of Enrique Pena Nieto.
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Activists have been demanding that authorities pass stricter laws and enforce current laws against perpetrators.
“As women we face a lot of danger,” said Claudia Correa, whose 21-year-old daughter was found dead near her home in Veracruz state last month with stab wounds in the chest and neck, after speaking one evening with her ex-boyfriend.
“The authorities don’t do anything to find these killers and the killers realize that they are taking so long that they have a chance to get away. And they are going to continue doing so if we allow them to,” Correa told Reuters.
Protests in Mexico have grown in recent weeks following the death of Mara Fernanda Castilla, a 19-year-old girl who used a ride-hailing app to get a ride home in September and was found dead a week later.
Thousands of women protested Castilla’s death and demanded action from the government.
“This problem is difficult to eradicate because it is rooted in ideas that assume that we as women are worth less than men, that we as women can be treated like trash,” deputy state prosecutor for gender violence crimes Dilcya Garcia Espinoza de los Monteros said at the time.
The problem of femicide isn’t limited to Mexico; Honduras and Argentina have also seen a recent spike in the murder of women and, consequently, a growing public outcry demanding government action. And as the protests grow, so do women’s calls for action: “not one more.”