The Latest: South Koreans rally for #MeToo on Women’s Day

Aung San Suu Kyi
The Associated Press

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Latest on International Women’s Day (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

Hundreds of South Koreans are staging a protest in support of the #MeToo movement on International Women’s Day.

Protesters, many wearing black and holding black signs reading #MeToo, gathered in central Seoul. They called for bringing alleged sexual offenders to justice, as well as action on other issues such as closing a gender pay gap.

Since a female prosecutor’s revelation in January of workplace mistreatment and sexual misconduct, South Korea’s #MeToo movement has gained major traction. The list of women who speak out is growing daily.

Several high-profile men have resigned from positions of power, including a governor who was a leading presidential contender before he was accused of repeatedly raping his secretary.

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12:30 p.m.

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi says peaceful democracies make good use of women’s strength in political, economic and social fields.

In a speech marking International Women’s Day, she said, “A country’s human rights values will be enhanced when women are granted their rights.”

Thursday was the third year the annual event was celebrated under a civilian government in Myanmar, where the military that long ruled the country is still powerful.

Suu Kyi leads the political party that won by a landslide in 2015 elections but the constitution bars her from becoming the president.

Though Myanmar has a woman leading its civilian government, a profound gender gap remains in the country of 52 million people.

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11:30 a.m.

Students at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University are celebrating International Women’s Day with banners making light of a proposed constitutional amendment to scrap term limits for the country’s president.

One banner joked that a boyfriend’s term should also have no limits, while another said, “A country cannot exist without a constitution, as we cannot exist without you!”

Photos of the banners were shared on Chinese social media Wednesday night before they were scrubbed by censors. Several online commenters also said the posters appeared to have been swiftly removed.

China’s ceremonial legislature is poised to pass a constitutional amendment that will allow President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely during its ongoing annual session.

Despite heavy censorship, the move has been criticized by liberal intellectuals as a return to dictatorship and satirized online.

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11 a.m.

Marches and demonstrations in Asia are kicking off rallies around the world to mark International Women’s Day.

Hundreds of women activists in pink and purple shirts protested Thursday in the Philippines against President Rodrigo Duterte, who they said is among the worst violators of women’s rights in Asia.

Protest leaders sang and danced in a boisterous rally in downtown Manila’s Plaza Miranda. They handed red and white roses to mothers, sisters and widows of several drug suspects slain under Duterte’s deadly crackdown on illegal drugs.

A rally for the rights of female workers was scheduled for later Thursday in central Seoul in South Korea, where a rapidly spreading #Metoo movement is galvanizing support for women’s issues.

Other events are planned across Asia, the Mideast, Europe and the Americas.

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