International Women's Rights Day: thousands of women took to the streets in France to defend their rights

“My body, my choices, my rights”: several thousand people, mostly women, marched on Friday, March 8, in Paris and in nearly 200 cities in France, on the occasion of International Rights Day women

International Women's Rights Day: thousands of women took to the streets in France to defend their rights

“My body, my choices, my rights”: several thousand people, mostly women, marched on Friday, March 8, in Paris and in nearly 200 cities in France, on the occasion of International Rights Day women. Festive demonstrations, but punctuated in the capital by jostling between pro-Palestine and pro-Israel activists.

Like every March 8, these gatherings were an opportunity for associations to march to defend women's rights and equality with men, particularly in the professional world, and to denounce domestic and sexual violence.

“Abortion, PMA, it’s my body, it’s my choice”, chanted demonstrators who met at the beginning of the afternoon in Paris at Place Gambetta, shortly after the ceremony of sealing the registration in the Constitution of “guaranteed freedom” of access to voluntary termination of pregnancy (IVG), organized at midday at Place Vendôme, in the presence of President Emmanuel Macron and many figures of feminism. In the procession was notably the actress Judith Godrèche, equipped with a sign “silence, women are screaming”.

Tensions in Paris

In Paris, Julie Doidy, 19, a visual arts student, was holding a sign reading “THANK YOU JUDITH”. “I wanted to say thank you to Judith Godrèche for speaking like that, her words will free many, it’s super important,” she testified to Agence France-Presse (AFP), in reference to the recent speaking out of the actress, who notably filed a complaint against the director Benoît Jacquot as well as the director Jacques Doillon for "violent rape of a minor under 15 years of age committed by a person in authority", for facts dating back to his teenage years.

This procession also included activists from the “We Will Live” association, created after the Hamas attack in Israel on October 7 to denounce the sexual violence committed by the commandos of the Islamist organization, journalists from the group noted. 'AFP. These activists, supervised by masked men, were many wearing jogging pants stained with fake blood “in reference to Naama Levy, one of the first women we saw in the images of the attack” of October 7, according to Julie Arfi member of the association.

Their slogans of “Free the hostages” were responded to by those of “Palestine will win” launched by other demonstrators. Invectives were exchanged between the two groups, they briefly degenerated into shoving and punching between members of the pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian security forces. BRAV-M police officers intervened to remove the procession of “We Will Live” activists.

The theme of the situation of women abroad was present in other processions, such as in Lille, where Pauline, a 23-year-old student, demonstrated “for women in countries at war, Afghans, Palestinians”. “We have a lot of privileges compared to other companies. In theory we’re not too bad but we’re not equal with men,” she said. In Bordeaux again, several Palestinian flags flew above the crowd and on a large banner at the head of the procession, the inscription: "From Gaza to Gironde, with or without papers, we keep society going."

In the processions, salary inequalities, such as the defense of the right to abortion, were also among the subjects denounced. “Look for penis for better salary”, could we read on a sign in Bordeaux, where 2,500 people marched. Carole, a 35-year-old school teacher, participated for the first time in the March 8 demonstration to “try to make things happen.”

A thousand demonstrators also met in Lille, where the Planned Parenthood premises were sprayed on Friday, for the second time this week. The “IVG = death” tag having been deleted, AFP noted.