A woman holds a sign reading 'Let us bleed without overtaxing us' (L)
Paris - AFP
About 100 people gathered in Paris on Wednesday to protest a French tax on tampons and sanitary pads, as anger grows among women worldwide over high taxation of the crucial items.
Men and women -- a few of them dressed up as giant vaginas and bloodied tampons -- joined the rally in the centre of Paris, brandishing colourful flags and banners reading: "No tax on my uterus," "Each time I bleed, the State wins," and "let us bleed without over-charging us".
A man dressed in a Santa Claus suit, complete with a red hat and a long blonde wig, held aloft a sign that said "less taxes in our chimneys".
The French feminist collective Georgette Sand had called for the protest via social media a week ago, asking people to wear red and black to represent the anger they felt at the tax.
The demonstration was in response to a failed amendment in France's National Assembly that would have reduced the VAT on tampons and other feminine sanitary products to 5.5 percent from the current rate of 20 percent.
VAT is a consumption tax paid on certain goods and services that is part of the sale price.
The amendment was rejected after the government said changing the tax would cost 55 million euros ($60 million).
Online petitions have collected tens of thousands of signatures in Britain, France, Australia and elsewhere calling for a tax reduction on feminine hygiene products, while Canada has scrapped the tax.