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Women In Kyiv Say They March For Equality, Not Flowers And Compliments

Feminists march in Kyiv on March 8, 2017
Feminists march in Kyiv on March 8, 2017

Nearly a thousand people marched through Kyiv on International Women's Day calling for women to rise up, fight domestic violence, and demand equality.

The March 8 holiday was celebrated in the Soviet Union and is still widely marked in Ukraine, but activists say a recent emphasis on giving women flowers and compliments is not what women really want.

"From the beginning it was a day for women's rights, not a day for flowers," Alina Zabruyko, 22, a student, told the AFP. news agency, "I came to the march just to revive the original meaning [of the day]."

Marchers shouted slogans including "Woman's rights are human rights!" and held banners saying ""To hell with patriotism! We need feminism," and "Don't give flowers, give safety."

Protesters said they were marching to highlight domestic violence, the mistreatment of women, and bullying in the armed forces.

"Today in Ukraine, violence is being used against women. It is often invisible -- it takes place in families, in hospitals, at work. It is not given enough attention," said Diana Poladova of the Expert Center for Human Rights.

Police detained three counterprotesters after they attempted to throw bright green disinfectant at the activists.

"They are alienating Ukrainian women from Ukrainian men," one of the counterprotesters told the crowd as police grabbed him.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa

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