“You’re Afraid I’m Not Beautiful; I’m Afraid You’ll Kill Me” – Women Rally in Bishkek

Photo: Mayram Kalmurzayeva

On International Women’s Day on March 8th, hundreds of people took to the streets of Bishkek to participate in the annual march for women’s rights. Under the slogan “A woman’s life is a mirror of the time,” the march started from the monument to revolutionary fighters on Chui Avenue and ended in Gorky Square on Isanov Street.

The marchers carried placards and made calls for an end to violence against women, to ensure their freedom and protect freedom of speech. One of the speakers was Asel Nogoibayeva, who said she had first-hand experience of domestic violence. Her words left a lasting impression, as did her call for the police to address the problems of domestic violence.

Marches on March 8th in support of women’s rights have become an annual tradition in Bishkek, with the main theme always for the authorities to pay attention to women’s issues.

“I went with a double-sided poster that said: ‘You’re afraid I’m not beautiful; I’m afraid you’ll kill me’ and on the other side, ‘Only a human being can give birth to a human being,’” Saraya, a participant at the rally told TCA. “I also printed out some posters that I handed out.”

Saraya said that the march went exactly as planned with no deviations and expressed her joy at the increase in the number of participants, including girls with their boyfriends, which is a testament to the expanded audience and impact of the event. “Of course, marching is not the only way to influence people,” she said. “It doesn’t work if once a year you walk around with placards and then forget about it. Businesses, for example, have different ways of attracting customers – social media, word of mouth, banners, etc. A march is like an advertising campaign, periodically loudly and announcing itself so that people don’t forget it. Only women’s rights are not a business – they’re a struggle for justice.”