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France protests violence against women

China Daily | Updated: 2019-11-25 09:20

Women hold placards as they march against domestic violence in Paris on Saturday. The placard in the center reads "sick of rape". Thibault Camus / Associated Press

PARIS - Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Paris and other French cities on Saturday to protest against domestic violence, after more than 130 women are believed to have been killed by partners or ex-partners in France so far this year.

In Paris, the mostly female activists chanted "Abuser, you've had it, women are in the street" and held purple placards bearing the names of female victims and slogans such as "not another murder more". Purple is a symbolic color used by the women's rights movement.

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his solidarity following the protest.

"I give my support to every woman who has experienced gender-based or sexual violence. Count on me to continue the mobilization of the government and the entire nation in this great cause," he said on Twitter.

About 35,000 people participated in the march in Paris, police said.

The #NousToutes association, which organized the protests, estimated the turnout was much higher: 100,000 in Paris and 150,000 across the whole country.

The protest came on the United Nations' International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and is aimed at pressuring the French government before it unveils new measures on Monday to tackle the problem of domestic violence.

French government is also set to announce a series of measures aimed at protecting women, the Secretary of State for Gender Equality Marl��ne Schiappa and the Justice and Interior ministers wrote in a joint opinion piece in Le Parisien daily on Saturday.

"We can and we should do better," they wrote.

A Council of Europe expert group on domestic violence said this week France needed to offer better protection for victims and their children and better anti-violence measures.

"We cannot continue to accept that women are being murdered today with total impunity. The state must do its job to guarantee the security of all women in this country," #NousToutes activist Karine Plassard said.

Other marches took place in French cities such as Lyon, Strasbourg, Bordeaux and Lille.

French activists have stepped up efforts this year to call attention to the problem. They mounted an unusual campaign of gluing posters around Paris and other cities every time another woman has been killed. The posters honor the women, and call for action. The activists also hold protests, lying down on the pavement to represent the slain women.

"We live in a culture that finds excuses for assailants," said Alyssa Ahrabare, spokeswoman for activist group Osez le Feminisme ("Try feminism"). She called for better training for staff of police stations and hospitals who come in contact with victims of domestic violence, and more shelters for abused women.

A 2014 EU survey of 42,000 women across all 28 member states found that 26 percent of French respondents said they been abused by a partner since age 15, either physically or sexually.



(China Daily 11/25/2019 page11)

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