PARIS (Reuters) – 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 their partner or ex-partner in France 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 colour used by the women’s rights movement.
President Emmanuel Macron expressed his solidarity after the end of the protest.
“I give my support to every woman who has experienced gender-based or sexual violence. Count on me to continue the mobilisation of the government and the entire nation in this great cause,” he said on Twitter.
Some 35,000 people participated in the march in Paris, police said.
The #NousToutes association, which organised the protests, estimated the turnout much higher at 100,000 in Paris and 150,000 across France.
The demonstrations took place two days before the government is due to publish the results of an investigation into domestic violence.
The government is also set to announce a series of new measures aimed at protecting women, the Justice and Interior Ministers and the Secretary of State for Gender Equality said 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 (GREVIO) said this week France needed to offer better protection for victims and their children and more effective 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 told Reuters in Paris.
Other marches took place in French cities such as Lyon, Strasbourg, Bordeaux and Lille.
“There is far too much violence against women everywhere in society, at work, in our intimate lives,” said Paris demonstrator Pauline, 28. “The masculine part of the population must be aware of what they are doing to the other half.”
(Reporting by Michaela Cabrera, Simon Carraud and Elizabeth Pineau; writing by Sybille de La Hamaide, editing by Alexandra Hudson)