The call for gender justice echoes on the streets of Prishtina.
The meeting called for Saturday at noon was about to begin. One of the volunteers who arrived early was sweeping the large floor of the Termokiss space. He was preparing for the arrival of others. As the minutes passed and the dust was mixing with the cigarette filters, volunteers started joining one by one.
They began assembling large work desks, and then the red and black color dominated the space. Red was the fabric, black was the letters. There was paper, paint and other working tools everywhere.
With the sound of music increasing the rhythm of the volunteers, the work to create the posters for the march for March 8 began. For many years now, March 8 has been marked with marches, which from year to year focus on different aspects of the struggle for gender justice.
On a voluntary basis, activists gather weeks before the march to prepare and mobilize so the call for justice is heard everywhere. This year the preparations for the march, which focused on femicide under the slogan “We march against women’s murder,” started at the end of January.
Before putting black to red, volunteers wrote slogans on a large white board placed in the middle of Termokiss. Each volunteer chose the slogan he or she wanted to paint on their banner.
Banners reading “Freedom for Women” and “A woman isn’t a man’s slave” were placed one by one on the speakers on the Termokiss’ stage so their colors would dry and be ready to be raised up on the March 8 march in the streets of Prishtina.
The marchers began to gather early in the morning. The march started at 10 a.m. at Hajvalia, where the Palace of Justice is located, and went to the “Roundabout of the Flag.” At noon it reached Zahir Pajaziti Square where others joined.
The marchers had the slogans down. As loud as they could, in the streets of Prishtina, the marchers called the names of some of women who were murdered. They followed this with more calls: “Justice for the murdered women!”, “Down with the patriarchy” and “How many more missed calls?”
The women and men marched, they didn’t celebrate. Instead of flowers they ask for justice. At the government building calls for gender justice to become a state priority echoed out. “We march, we do not celebrate,” people shouted as they spread out, hoping that there would soon be a March 8 when there would actually be reasons to celebrate. As Liridona Sijarina, one of the activists in the march, said, “We will protest until every girl and woman is free and equal.”
This article has been produced with the financial support of the “Balkan Trust for Democracy,” a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, or its partners.
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Feature image: Ferdi Limani / K2.0.