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Thousands rally against domestic violence in Argentina

Huge numbers of people have flooded the streets of Buenos Aires to protest against domestic violence. It follows a series of brutal murders of women that have shocked Argentina.

Hundreds of thousands were expected in Buenos Aires to protest against violence against women. Simultaneous marches are being held elsewhere in Argentina and also in Chile, Uruguay and Mexico.

Soccer star Lionel Messi and Argentinian president Cristina Kirchner led Wednesday's rally in Buenos Aires.

The country has been left stunned by the murder of a kindergarten teacher whose estranged husband slit her throat in front of her class. In another case, the boyfriend of a 14-year-old girl is accused of beating her to death for becoming pregnant.

Another woman whose boyfriend stabbed her to death in broad daylight in a Buenos Aires cafe has also caused outrage.

Anti-violence campaigners say 277 women in Argentina were killed last year through domestic violence, despite the country passing a law punishing femicide with life in jail.

Sixteen Latin American countries have written femicide into their penal codes, establishing harsher punishments for the killing of a woman by a man when gender plays a part in the crime.

Activists say a 2009 law cracking down on violence against women has not been effectively implemented.

Wednesday's rallies were backed by rights groups, unions, political parties and the Catholic Church.

jr/bk (AFP, dpa)