By Elena Rodriguez and Nathan Allen

MADRID (Reuters) – Singing for gender equality and carrying purple banners, thousands took to the streets of Spain on Thursday evening on marches to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence in towards women.

In Madrid, a crowd of mostly women marched down one of the capital’s main avenues to the beat of a squadron of samba drummers, while similar scenes took place in Barcelona, ​​Valencia and others. cities, showed televised footage.

This year’s slogan was ‘Enough’ as ​​hundreds marched through central Madrid with banners calling for an end to gender-based violence.

The regional central government office said around 1,200 people took part in one of the main protests in downtown Madrid.

Political cartoons about world leaders

“(I’m sick of) the pay gap, violence against women, everything, all the difference between men and women, all the problems that exist today, can be felt in this society where we have no not the same rights, ”maths student Carolina Sanchez, 21, said at the rally in Madrid.

Earlier Thursday, representatives of all major Spanish political parties, except far-right Vox, renewed an agreement to secure funding for programs to combat violence against women and aid to victims.

“Violence against women is a state affair, the struggle for the freedom of all women is a state affair,” Equality Minister Irene Montero told reporters shortly after the ceremony. signature.

Women’s rights have been propelled to the political front in Spain, which recently toughened its laws on sexual violence to define all non-consensual sex as rape.

Last week, the government broadened its definition of “gender violence” crimes, which it has monitored since 2003, to include the murders of all women by men, regardless of the killer’s relationship with the victim.

Previously, these crimes were only counted if the perpetrator had had a relationship with his victim.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez praised recent legislative improvements, but stressed that there was still a lot of work to be done.

“What we need to do is make visible this tragedy that unfortunately many women undergo every day,” he said at an event before the demonstration.

The number of women who have died from gender-based violence in Spain has risen to 1,118 since 2003, when statistics were first officially recorded, according to the Equality Ministry.

In 2021, 37 women died compared to 46 a year earlier.

(Reporting by Elena Rodriguez, Marco Trujillo, Nathan Allen and Jesús Aguado; editing by Richard Chang)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.