Quite a social and constitutional argument has been taking place over recent days and weeks because on Monday, it’s 8 March, and that date – known as 8M – is International Women’s Day, a day known for women going on strike and on marches to protest against male violence, wage gaps in the workplace and no wage at all in the home, as well as general sexism. These days are perhaps most fervently supported in countries with a high level of machismo as well as of personal freedom, and so have a great following in southern European countries.
This year, though, there is a pandemic. There was last year but it was all new then. This year it isn’t, and marches are planned, and opposed, with the result that the national Government’s Delegation in the Canaries has given permission for some even though the Health Departments and the Canarian Government itself have been trying to stop any taking place. The ones allowed – four in Tenerife (Adeje, Los Cristianos, La Laguna, and Puerto de la Cruz) and eleven between the other islands – will, however, have to comply with full health measure restrictions.
The argument for allowing them is that of a constitutional right to protest, a right that the national Delegation in the Canaries says is “fundamental”. The argument works both ways, that it’s a fundamental right with which other less fundamental rights cannot interfere but on which they can impose restrictions, and that it’s the right and indeed duty of those responsible for public health to impose restrictions in a pandemic even though the right to protest is a fundamental one.
Given the controversial balance of rights decision which he had no power to overrule, Canarian President Torres called for participants to exercise their right with the greatest responsibility. Health is as important as anything else, in fact nothing is actually more important than the right to health protection, he argued, while stressing his full support for each and every one of the principles that make 8M even a thing. The dedicated website for the international movement is HERE.