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Prostitutes march in protest of “vulgar speculation″

April 16, 1985

PARIS (AP) _ Prostitutes claim ″vulgar speculation″ in real estate is pricing them out of their small apartments on the Rue Saint Denis, and about 60 of them protested Tuesday outside the premier’s office.

A spokeswoman for the women, who identified herself only as Katia, said that if aides to Premier Laurent Fabius did not agree to see them, they would start a hunger strike Wednesday in a church.

The prostitutes demand that the studio apartments in which they work be returned to ″those who put their money into them and on whose backs one wants to make vulgar speculation,″ Katia said.

The protesters, their faces hidden under hoods or behind masks, carried a banner that said, ″We are being used. Let us live and work.″

Prostitution is legal in France.

District officials, investors and a committee of residents have announced plans to clean up the Rue Saint Denis, which once was among the city’s main thoroughfares but has become a red light district.

It was the second demonstration by the Saint Denis prostitutes in less than a month. On March 27, police kept them away from the Elyees Palace of President Francois Mitterrand, where a Cabinet meeting was in progress.

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