QUEBEC CITY -- Vigils are to take place across Quebec Thursday, including one in front of the National Assembly, to denounce the murders of women in Quebec and to call on governments to act immediately to stop all forms of violence against women.

The vigil that will take place in the early evening before the National Assembly is being organized by the Regroupement des groups de femmes de la région de la Capitale-Nationale. There will be others in front of the courthouses in Gatineau and Sherbrooke, as well as in Saguenay.

The Regroupement notes that in the past five weeks, four women have been murdered in Quebec: Astrid Declerck in Montreal, Dec. 25; Jaël Cantin in Mascouche, in the Lanaudière, Jan. 16; Annie Koneak in Kujjuaq, in Nunavik, Jan. 18 and Marylène Lévesque, Jan. 22, in Quebec City.

On Dec. 10, another woman, Dahia Khellaf, 42, and her two sons were killed in their residence in eastern Montreal.

On Dec. 6, the Regroupement had announced that 1,128 women and children had been murdered by a spouse or ex-spouse in Quebec since the anti-feminist attack perpetrated 30 years earlier at the École polytechnique de Montréal.

The vigils on Thursday will give participants an opportunity to express themselves, in particular by delivering testimonies and making demands publicly.

The Quebec minister responsible for the status of women, Isabelle Charest, said she wanted to tighten security around victims of domestic violence in order to prevent violent crimes.

"We're going to be talking about what can be done quickly to make sure those cases don't happen again," she said in a scrum outside CAQ caucus meetings. "It goes with the financial support in women's shelters, it goes in education, it goes in prevention, it goes in education of people acting in the front line with those women."

The interview she gave mentioned in particular an increase in funding for shelters, the imposition of electronic bracelets and the possibility of making it compulsory for doctors to report suspected cases of domestic violence when a patient comes to emergency rooms with injuries, for example.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 30, 2020.