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Participants in the international event, 1 Billion Rising, walk to the center of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Calif. on Friday, February 14, 2014. Today around the world groups will gather to dance and sing in an effort to rise up against violence against women. (James Cacciatore/Special to Marin Independent Journal) James Cacciatore

A flash mob of pink appeared on the Golden Gate Bridge Friday morning as nearly 100 people took part in a choreographed dance performed around the world in a global rise against violence targeting women.

The hourlong march and dance on the bridge began at 8 a.m., as part of the international One Billion Rising for Justice campaign.

It was a perfect start to a day with One Billion Rising events happening all over the city and the greater Bay Area, said Nancy Mancias, a national organizer for CodePink, an anti-war group that is partnered with the One Billion Rising campaign.

"As we were gathering and doing the flash mob, the fog actually burned off a little bit," Mancias said. "So the Golden Gate was our backdrop."

The core group that started the flash mob -- a public group dance intended to catch the attention of passersby -- was joined by other activist groups, as well as pedestrians walking across the bridge, said flash mobber and CodePink coordinator Farah Muhsin.

While she hopes the bridge performance made a positive difference on the issue of violence against women, Muhsin, who lives in San Rafael, said the greater impact comes from the show of solidarity around the world.

"Every presence counts," Muhsin said. "Whether here or Australia or Africa or Afghanistan, it all sends the same message and creates this powerful idea that women are not OK with violence, and today is about love and care and passion and to remind the world that we are rising against all forms of violence and oppression against women."


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This is the second year of the event, and both times the event has been on Feb. 14 -- Valentine's Day. Mancias, a San Rafael resident, said the date was intentional.

"Valentine's Day is a day we give cards and people go out to dinner and give flowers," Mancias said. "Well, this is a time where we are reclaiming it for women's empowerment, to bring attention to some issues, like domestic violence."

Related events were planned around the country and the world on Friday, with flash mobs dancing the same routine to the same song, "One Billion Rising: Break the Chain."

Mancias said participants in the Golden Gate Bridge dance worked on the routine for about a month, at dance studios in San Francisco and Oakland.

Estimates for total participants and participating countries were not readily available, though the One Billion Rising website said organizers were aiming to exceed last year's participation. The site says that during last year's event, "one billion people in 207 countries rose and danced to demand an end to violence against women and girls."

Contact Laith Agha via email at lagha@marinij.com