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WOMEN protesting against prostitution and pornography were attacked in the French capital Paris on Sunday when their rally platform was daubed with a death threat.
And about 15 activists from the Collective for the Abolition of Pornography & Prostitution (Capp) were set upon as they held a protest to mark International Women’s Day in Place de la Republique.
They had draped banners over one of the statues with slogans condemning the violence that women face in prostitution and the pornographic industry when an angry mob attacked them.
Those who had joined Sunday’s protest included survivors of prostitution — which they said was “paid rape.”
Women tried to stop the attack, which saw the tearing-down of placards and banners declaring: “Porn producers = pimps,” “Porn and prostitution is a war against women,” and “If you promote prostitution as work, you are on the wrong side of history.”
But as they gathered at the foot of the statue, they were met by an angry mob chanting “my body, my choice” and “shut the f*** up,” while calling the anti-prostitution protesters “swerfs [ sex-worker-exclusionary radical feminists].”
One of the women who was present at the demonstration reported: “They also yelled ‘no feminism without whores.’ They then started throwing eggs at us and tried to spray us in the eyes with red spray paint.”
Video footage of the attack circulating on social media appeared to show the counterprotesters chanting: “One Terf [trans-exclusionary radical feminist], one bullet: social justice,” after those gathered on the statue complained about male violence.
The base of the statue was spray-painted with graffiti reading: “Save a trans person, kill a Terf,” though the demonstration had not touched on issues relating to trans rights.
“We were shocked at the level of violence we were receiving,” one of those present said. “Our sisters at the top of the statue, in the majority prostitution survivors, were traumatised and cried.”
“[The counterprotesters] lined up in front of us and made Nazi gestures. Some of them emptied beer bottles and mimicked throwing them at us,” she said, adding that police in attendance had refused to escort them to safety. “I have never seen this much violence at a feminist protest directed at women,” she said.
An organiser from another feminist organisation arrived and her group formed a circle around the protesters to allow them to leave the area in safety.
A similar incident was reported in Barcelona, where video footage showed banners belonging to feminist activists being trampled and destroyed.
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