1000s Join Paris Anti-gay Marriage Rally
Published on Mar 24, 2013Tens of thousands of French families, activists and conservatives converged on the capital to try to stop the country from allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt. A bill has passed the lower house of parliament and awaits a Senate vote by The Associated Press
|1 Mother & 1 Father, it's Elementary|
Published on Mar 24, 2013Paris riot police used tear gas and fought back crowds who pushed their way onto Paris' landmark Champs-Elysees avenue as part of a huge protest against a draft law allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children. by The Associated Press
Clashes at French anti-gay marriage protest
Sustained protests led by opposition conservatives in this traditionally Catholic country have eroded support for the draft law in recent months, and organizers hope Sunday's march will weigh on the Senate debate.The numbers vary:
The first few hours of the protest were peaceful. But as it was meant to be winding down, about 100 youths tried to push past police barricades onto the Champs-Elysees, the avenue that cuts through central Paris and draws throngs of tourists daily. In an indication of the sensitivity of the issue, protesters had been barred from marching on the Champs.
Police officers wrangled with the youths and then fired tear gas to force them back. Gaining momentum, more and more protesters took side streets to reach the avenue, blocking a key intersection on the route to the president's Elysee Palace.
Police fired more tear gas but were unable to block the crowds from spilling onto the avenue.
"Hollande, Resignation!" the protestors chanted, before breaking into the French anthem, "La Marseillaise."
The official estimated that 300,000 people took part in Sunday's march, slightly less than a similar march in January. Organizers estimated more than 1.2 million people took part in Sunday's march, more than in the January protest.
Polls indicate a shrinking majority of French voters back gay marriage, which is legal in about a dozen mostly European nations and some U.S. states. But polls show French voters are less enthusiastic about adoption by same-sex couples.
Frigide Barjot, the stage name of an activist who has led protests against the bill, insisted the anti-gay marriage movement wasn't a lost cause. "It's the second round, sir. It's not the last battle."