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Turkey's women lawmakers stage 'rapist is you' protest

December 15, 2019

The viral song and dance protest created by Chilean feminist collective Las Tesis made it to Turkey's parliament at the weekend. Women lawmakers sang the song at confused-looking majority male Cabinet members.

Woman shouts during a Las Tesis protest
Image: picture-alliance/NurPhoto/E. Demirtas

Ankara MPs stage feminist protest

Female Turkish lawmakers staged a protest in Turkey's general assembly, singing viral Chilean feminist anthem "The rapist is you" to highlight the crisis of femicide in the country.

A video shows the eight women lawmakers from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) banging on desks while staging the so-called Las Tesis protest, chanting lyrics such as "You are the rapist, you are the killer; cops, judges, state and president."

Other colleagues stood up and held around 20 pictures of victims of femicide in Turkey, as the majority-male Cabinet looked on.

Turkey's difficult relationship with Las Tesis anthem

CHP deputy Sera Kadigil directly addressed Suleyman Soylu, Turkey's interior minister, before the protest, saying that the song was being used by women all over the world to draw attention to violence against women.

She added: "Thanks to you, Turkey is the only country in which you must have (parliamentary) immunity to participate in this protest."

Last week seven people were detained in Istanbul for staging the protest, but more rallies were planned on Sunday in Turkey's capital and in Izmir on the eastern coast of the country.

Responding, Soylu said everyone shared the pain of each woman killed in Turkey, adding that the song was sung in Chile for different reasons. He also rejected the lyrics calling Turkish police, judges, the state or the president a "rapist" or "killer."

Does Turkey have a femicide problem?

World Health Organization data say 38% of women in Turkey are subject to violence from a partner in their lifetime, compared with about 25% in Europe.

Unofficial data compiled by a Turkish advocacy group shows men murdered 440 women in the country last year, more than doubling from 2012 when Ankara passed a law to protect women.

Turkey does not keep official statistics on femicide.

The catchy song and dance protest has been staged by women in many countries throughout the world in the past weeks, including in France, Chile and Tunisia, to highlight gendered violence and murder.

kmm/rc (Reuters)

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