International Whores Day was declared by the prostitute rights movement to honor the 150 prostitutes who occupied the Saint-Nizier church in Lyon, France, on June 2nd, 1975. They were protesting against fines, unwarranted arrests, and the police’s disinterest and irresponsibility in solving murders and crimes committed against them.
The church leaders and Lyon population supported their protest and gave them protection and the occupation was transmitted through various communication means of the time all over the world. The women wanted their work to be considered “as useful to France as any other”. While the women occupied the church, 200 other prostitutes took to the streets in their cars distributing flyers that denounced that they were “victims of police persecution”, that made it impossible for them to work. The letter was sent to the then president of France, Giscard d’Estaing. The movement expanded to other cities in France, like Marselha, Montpellier, Grenoble and Paris, where colleagues also began a strike, yet on June 1oth, at 5 am, the women in the church were brutally removed by the police.