Hundreds march on Paris to protest domestic violence

Hundreds of men and women joined the protest in Paris and across France against domestic violence

Hundreds of people have marched this weekend to the old Palais de Justice in Paris, demanding “justice for women” and more support from the government in the fight against domestic violence.

High-profile politicians were also present, including Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, La France Insoumise MP Clémentine Autain, and the Socialist senator Laurence Rossignol.

There were also smaller protests in Toulouse (Occitanie), Poitiers and Bordeaux (Nouvelle-Aquitaine), and Orléans (Centre-Val de Loire).

The protestors demanded a “significant increase” in government budgets and subsidies for the cause, as well as more funding for women’s shelters across France.

They demanded that the law should require the violent partner to leave the marital home, rather than the victimised woman; and they called on lawyers and police officers to be better trained in this subject.

The initiative was spearheaded by the French actress and comedian Muriel Robin. On September 23, Ms Robin published an open letter, also signed by 87 other well-known names, calling for the protest.

Many women’s associations responded. Women and men marched on Saturday October 6 under the banners of associations including Women Safe, NousToutes, les Femmes en Marge and Du Côté Des Femmes.

Some women told their own stories of domestic violence, in front of the crowds.

Men, children, and couples joined the crowd of women too, and many protestors carried placards bearing slogans such as “machismo kills”, and signs bearing the image of women who had been killed by their husbands for trying to leave them.

Ms Hidalgo wrote on Twitter that 225,000 women in France are thought to be victims of domestic violence.

Ms Robin told reporters at the event that over 150 women die every year at the hands of their violent partners.

One woman - who had previously reported her violent husband to gendarmes - said: “The gendarmerie did everything they could to make me be quiet. They lack training and humanity. We [women] are already embarrassed and scared [to be calling them]...and they do not help at all.”

Speaking at the protest, Ms Robin said: “This affects everyone: women, but also the children who are victims and witnesses too. This will take time but we must continue to fight, continue to protest, as we are doing today… We will only stop when we are satisfied.”

Ms Robin suggested that more money - up to €1 billion - was neede to properly address the issue.

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