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Dozens of people protested against domestic violence yesterday over a recent article in Playboy magazine's Romanian edition that gave advice on how to beat women.

"Domestic violence is not a joke; it is a problem" and "Mothers, why do you hide the beatings' traces?" read banners held by the protesters in downtown Bucharest.

The demonstration was sparked by an article in the April issue of Playboy. The article, titled How To Beat Your Wife Without Leaving Traces, described a step-by-step procedure for abuse and implied that good beatings could lead to great sex.

Interior Ministry statistics show that more than half of the 110 women killed in Romania last year were slain by husbands, boyfriends or relatives.

After 14 organizations issued a protest against the Playboy article, Mihail Galatanu, deputy editor-in-chief of the Romanian edition, said that it had been an April Fool's joke, adding that the procedure for abuse described in the magazine "cannot work" anyway.

Christie Hefner, Playboy Enterprises chairwoman and chief executive officer, apologized last week to Romanian women for the article and reprimanded the Romanian chief editor.

"This article flies in the face of Playboy's 46-year history of strongly opposing any visual or editorial depiction of violence toward women," Ms. Hefner said in a statement sent Friday to the Bucharest office of the Associated Press.

Playboy launched its Romanian edition in October, featuring local celebrities on the cover.

Yesterday's demonstration was the first against domestic violence in Romania.

"We have to make women aware they don't have to suffer in silence," said Iasmin Lodi, of the Civic Education Project-Romania.

A delegation from the Romanian-language edition of Cosmopolitan magazine attended the protest.

"I was very disappointed" by the article, said Elena Francisc, the Romanian editor of Cosmopolitan.

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