MADRID (AP) — Thousands of people from all over Spain converged on Madrid on Saturday to march against domestic violence.
Members of 380 regional and 70 state-run feminist organizations joined representatives from Spain's main political parties, trade unions and non-governmental organizations linked to gender equality.
The march got underway after Angela Gonzalez, whose daughter was murdered in 2003 by her abusive ex-husband during a visit allowed by judicial authorities, spoke in memory of those who died as a result of gender-based attacks.
Gonzalez said that since 1995, more than 1,390 women have been murdered in Spain by male attackers and that so far this year, 84 cases of murders of women by men have been recorded.
"I am an example of a woman who's been able to get out of domestic violence," said 45-year-old teacher Olga Aranza.
She marched alongside Pedro Sanchez, head of the Socialist Party and leader of the opposition in parliament, as well as Andrea Levy, lawmaker of the ruling Popular Party, and Pablo Iglesias, leader of the hard-left Podemos party.
Organizers said 21,000 people traveled to take part, including some who flew in from Spain's Balearic and Canary islands.
Landmarks like city hall and the Cibeles fountain in downtown Madrid had been bathed in purple light during the past few nights in commemoration of women who have suffered gender-based violence.
"It's essential that we men also take part in this demonstration so that we send a clear message to women, telling them they are not alone in this struggle," said 34-year-old architect Miguel Navarro.