With banners and slogans against sexism and related crimes, thousands protested in Spanish cities on Sunday to mark international day for the elimination of violence against women. Protesters took to the streets in Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Valencia, and Bilbao, reflecting how the fight to stop violence against woman has become a national cause in Spain. "We are here for all those women who have been murdered, in Madrid and in Spain. We are taking it very personally," said Rosa Orea at the Madrid rally. Since 2003, 972 women have been killed by their partners or ex-partners in Spain, 44 of those so far in 2018, according to government figures. "The situation has changed for our generation, but we have to keep fighting because this (violence) happens more than it seems," said Sofia Serrano a Madrid student. Violence against women has been a key political cause in Spain since 2004 when new laws were introduced against the crime. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Sunday reiterated his government`s "commitment" to eradicate violence against women and "culture" of sexism.