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A temporary statue of a woman placed where a statue of Christopher Columbus once stood, ahead of a protest on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in Mexico City on Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021. 

A temporary statue of a woman placed where a statue of Christopher Columbus once stood, ahead of a protest on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in Mexico City on Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021. 

Photographer: Jacky Muniello/Bloomberg
CityLab
Justice

How A Feminist Uprising Reshaped Mexico City

Protesters against gender violence have left their imprint on the capital’s streets and monuments. On International Women’s Day, they’re expected to do it again.

Last September, in the middle of a roundabout along Mexico City’s Paseo de la Reforma, feminist activists climbed up to an empty plinth and installed a wooden carving of a woman raising her fist to the sky. For months, the hand-hewn, purple-painted silhouette presided over a wall of metal panels covered in the names of mothers, daughters, activists and historic figures — all victims of Mexico’s epidemic of violence against women and those now battling for justice.

On March 5, just days before International Women’s Day — which is expected to draw thousands to the streets — activists carrying ropes and harnesses scaled the monument once again, this time to replace the wooden figure with a more permanent version made of steel. With the city government planning to install its own new, official statue any day now, the feminists’ defiant actions echoed the message of an earlier gathering at the roundabout.