Crowd stayed calm and united when a man insulted protestors
A confrontation broke out at the end of the Women’s Day march when a man yelled vulgarities at marchers last Friday. A cluster of people formed around the man and continued to chant for women’s equality as the man tried to put them down with insults. They raised their voices until he backed away.
On March 8—International Women’s Day—the 17th annual Women of Diverse Origins’s demonstration marched from Philips Square to Berri-UQAM.
Women of Diverse Origins was founded in 2001, according to one of the founders, Marie Boti. Each year, the group organizes a demonstration with a variety of speakers from around the world to talk about their experiences with inequality.
The march began with a dance performance from PINAY, a Filipino women’s activist group, during which everyone was encouraged to participate. A few guests spoke about their causes, including Marlene Hale. Hale is a Wet’suwet’en caterer who gained visibility in January when a speech she gave about the B.C. pipeline in front Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was broadcast on APTN National News.
The Raging Grannies also took part in the gathering, wearing their signature flamboyant “granny” clothes. Their organization sang songs both in French and English.
The protest was about more than women’s rights. It touched upon many social inequalities, such as migrant justice, and the fight for a higher minimum wage. “My body, my mind,” “We want 15 right now,” and “Good enough to work, good enough to stay,” were among the phrases chanted in the streets, in a variety of languages.
Despite the walk being a militant action, all marchers were respectful. It was composed of a diverse group—people from different social organizations and cultures came together on a chilly night.
The event ended with a dance party, with everyone jumping and twisting to Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” and Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want To Have Fun.” Boti made a final speech, thanking everyone for coming and saying that she would see everyone next year. The crowd chanted one last time before they dispersed
Photo by Amanda Cloutier-Santos.