Thousands protest in 'feminist tidal wave' against sexist violence

Participants walk with a banner reading 'Stop sexist and sexual violence' as they take part in a rally in Paris.

Participants walk with a banner reading 'Stop sexist and sexual violence' as they take part in a rally in Paris.

AFP

PARIS - Tens of thousands of people rallied across Europe on Saturday against sexist violence, with more than 30,000 turning out in Paris.

Demonstrations across France drew around 50,000 people in all, according to organiser Caroline de Haas, to answer a citizen collective's call for a "feminist tidal wave" of outrage against gender violence brought into sharp focus by the #MeToo movement.

Elsewhere, a thousand people braved driving rain in Rome while similar protests drew several hundred demonstrators in Geneva and Athens on the eve of the UN's International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Sunday.

In Spain's capital Madrid, several hundred people took to the streets to march to loud drumming as some shouted "We are all here, the murderers are missing".

Authorities put the Paris turnout at 12,000 and similar marches in Lyon, Marseille and Rennes at between 1,000 and 2,400, but De Haas felt moved to salute "the largest (feminist) mobilisation France has known", far bigger than a rally that drew some 2,000 last year.

French President Emmanuel Macron offered his support, tweeting: "The fight against violence against women is progressing daily but our society has a long way to go  -- everyone must act and fight as this is everybody's business."

Participants clad in purple, the colour of the #NousToutes women's activist protest movement, shouted slogans including "sick of rape", "end impunity for aggressors" and "a woman is never responsible for the violence she suffers", while also demanding sufficient government resources to tackle the issue.

The #NousToutes movement started out in France in September, inspired by the #MeToo campaign that began last year since when the number of cases of sexual violence reported to police in France has risen 23 percent.

Latest French government figures say 2017 saw 225,000 cases of domestic violence against women by their partners while 2016 saw 123 deaths.

Further marches are planned for Sunday in a number of cities across Europe to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Source
AFP