Violence against women: Madrid stages big protest march

Masked demonstrators in Madrid hold posters against gender violence Image copyright AFP
Image caption More than 20,000 people took part in the protest march, some reports suggest

Tens of thousands of people have marched in the Spanish capital Madrid to condemn violence against women.

The rally, organised by feminist groups, was attended by representatives of all the main political parties.

Activists dressed in black lay on the ground to remember hundreds of women murdered over the years in what they described as "sexist terrorism".

They said laws against domestic abuse should be extended to include all violence against women.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Activists pretended to be dead to remember women murdered over the years

One estimate put the number of those who took part in Saturday's march at more than 20,000, the BBC's Tom Burridge in Madrid reports.

Trade unions and non-governmental organisations from across Spain also joined the event. Some participants reportedly flew in from the Balearic and Canary islands.

"I think it's important that people like me demonstrate today, because I'm an example of a woman who's been able to get out of domestic violence," participant Olga Aranza was quoted as saying by the Associated Press television.

"And that means that all abused women can also get out violence and that they deserve a better life. You really can get out," she added.

A survey carried out by the European Union last year estimated that 13 million woman in Europe experienced physical violence in 2013.

But statistics and surveys suggest the problem is less prevalent in Spain than other European countries, our correspondent says.

But he adds that violence against women is high in the public's conscience in Spain, and the rally has succeeded in reasserting the issue on the political agenda - only six week's before an unpredictable general election.

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