“Since President Emmanuel Macron took office… more than 1,000 children have been orphaned,” said protesters.
French feminist group #NousToutes took to the streets of Paris on Thursday evening to honour the 900 women murdered in France since Emmanuel Macron came to power.
Holding signs saying “guilty state, justice accomplice,” they denounced Macron for failing to protect women and girls from violence.
Some 900 candles representing every woman killed were lit near the city’s iconic Eiffel tour, and a 15-metre-long banner with the names and ages of the women was displayed.
It included the names of the 20 women, aged between 16 and 75, the group say have been killed since the beginning of this year.
#NousToutes say the frighteningly high numbers highlight an “absence of real political will” from the French government to tackle gender-based violence.
“Since President Emmanuel Macron took office, more than 900 femicides have been recorded and more than 1,000 children have been orphaned,” they said in a statement.
They also say that the “great cause” of Macron’s five-year term is conspicuous in its absence.
In November 2017, months after taking office at the Élysée Palace, Macron declared that equality between men and women would become the “grand cause” of his term, vowing to prioritise the crackdown on violence against women.
But Macron sparked fierce condemnation in 2020, when he appointed Gérald Darmanin to the post of Minister of the Interior.
Darmanin at the time faced allegations of rape.
Macron came under further fire earlier this year when he defended French actor Gérard Depardieu’s right to be presumed innocent after he was accused of sexual assault.
In a further blow to his “grand cause”, Macron has been blasted for blocking the inclusion of rape as an EU-wide crime in new EU laws to fight violence against women.
“Nothing has changed since 2016 and the start of our count, we have been at the same rate for eight years, with a woman killed every three days by her partner or ex-partner,” Julia, not her real name, told the AFP news agency on Thursday.
The group say their femicide count helps raise public awareness of the gravity of the problem and put pressure on Macron’s government to take action.
Macron became France’s President in May 2017 and is currently serving his second term.