March 25, 2019
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Women protest religious fundamentalism in Costa Rica

San Jose, Mar 29 (efe-epa).- "The Handmaid's Tale," a growing Costa Rican protest movement led by a dozen women in the context of the impending presidential runoff election, seeks to confront a "fundamentalist threat" and defend the country's social advancements.

Dressed in crimson robes and white bonnets, and looking down in complete silence, this group of Costa Rican women is attempting to denounce the censorship, inequality and subjugation of women that many seem comfortable with.

These women are part of the "We are ours" feminist organization and their protest, particularly the wardrobe used, takes its inspiration from "The Handmaid's Tale," a 1985 dystopian novel written by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, which takes place in a near-future United States ruled by a totalitarian, fundamentalist and sexist government.

Professor Alicia Coto, one of the activists, told EFE that the protests were sparked by this year's presidential elections, since the results could "damage the progress made regarding women's freedoms."

"In Costa Rica, women only achieved the right to vote in 1950, progress has been slow and there is still a lot to be done. This election could lead to a clear setback in social advancements," Coto said.

The two contenders in Sunday's runoff election are journalist Carlos Alvarado, of the governing Citizen's Action Party, and Evangelical Protestant pastor Fabricio Alvarado, of the conservative National Restauration Party.

While Carlos Alvarado supports marriage equality and LGBT family rights, Fabricio Alvarado is resolutely against these issues and has said that he will defend the "traditional family."

During the first round of the Costa Rican election on Feb. 4, several women went out to vote dressed in "The Handmaid's Tale" outfit to protest Alvarado's candidacy.

At least 40 women have joined the protest movement and are expected to go to polling stations on Sunday dressed in crimson robes and white bonnets.

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