Angry army wives protest in Paris over military working conditions
Several hundred women married to French soldiers are holding a demonstration in Paris to denounce the “deplorable working conditions” in the army.
The protest was organised by the group Angry Soldiers’ Wives, which has nearly 5,200 members.
Mercedes Crépin, who helped set it up, said some troops on anti-terror duty were being housed in damp hangars infested with cockroaches and lice.
Around 500 people were expected to join the protest, Le Figaro reported.
After the Islamist attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015, the French government deployed more than 7,000 soldiers to guard prominent public places and events.
The military wives have several demands – among them, an end to the current army payment system. They say the current software has left families in debt after soldiers were mistakenly overpaid, then asked to pay back the surplus.
They are also concerned about the lack of support for the families of soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“We feel completely helpless, we do not know how to cope with the condition, how to support our men,” said Ms Crépin, whose husband has PTSD after serving in Afghanistan.
“We want to show our discomfort, our anxiety and our anger,” she told TV channel France 3.
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Image caption French troops have been repeatedly targeted by attackers in recent months
She also raised the plight of soldiers’ widows, saying some are obliged to leave military housing within two to three months of losing their husbands, and get little help from the army.
The Angry Soldiers’ Wives demo follows a march by a similar group, Angry Police Wives, at the end of April.
The wives and partners of police officers took to the streets of Paris to protest after the killing of an officer on the Champs Elysees.
Their action condemning anti-police violence came two days after officer Xavier Jugelé was shot dead.