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Tens of thousands protest against gay marriage on streets of Paris

The march was briefly interrupted by six topless feminist protesters who were surrounded by demonstrators before police intervened.

France Gay Marriage Demonstrators wave flags at Trocadero plaza to protest against gay marriage in Paris. Source: Michel Euler/PA

TENS OF THOUSANDS of protesters took to the streets of Paris yesterday to demonstrate against gay marriage, calling for candidates in France’s presidential election to support “traditional family values”.

The march was briefly interrupted by six topless feminist protesters from the Femen group who were quickly surrounded by demonstrators before police intervened.

The “Manif Pour Tous” (Protest for Everyone) campaign has been re-activated two years after its last sizeable demonstration.

Protesters held signs with slogans such “United for the family” as they made their way towards the Eiffel Tower, many of them waving French tricolour flags or banners in the movement’s trademark pink and blue.

‘The power of the people’

Police said up to 24,000 people took part, while organisers put the number far higher at 200,000.

Source: Michel Euler/PA

The target of their anger is the 2013 law legalising same-sex marriage introduced by Christiane Taubira, the justice minister at the time.

One protester attending the march, 72-year-old retired engineer Michel Delaune, said: “I am against gay marriage and against the crappy leaders who oppose the power of the people.”

A 29-year-old man who identified himself as Guy said he wanted a “return to the principles of Christian civilisation in terms of family, instituitions and work.”

France Gay Marriage Far right regional leader for southeastern France, Marion Marechal-Le Pen, left and Far right politician and lawyer Gilbert Collard march during the rally. Source: Michel Euler/PA

But around a hundred gay rights activists mounted a counter-demo to “respond to the hate propagated by Manif Pour Tous”, with same-sex couples kissing in defiance at the city’s central Place de la Republique.

Arrests

The anti-gay march, which took place under high security, passed off peacefully apart from a brief confrontation between demonstrators and a gaggle of around 20 activists from an anti-fascist movement.

In total 13 people were arrested, including the six Femen protesters.

Three years ago, Manif Pour Tous mounted a vigorous campaign against same-sex marriage — at one point claiming to have brought 1.4 million on the streets of Paris.

France Gay Marriage Demonstrators dressed as Marianne, the symbol of the French republic since the 1789 revolution. Source: Michel Euler/PA

But President Francois Hollande defied the protests and in 2013 France legalised gay marriage.

The movement faded away, but its leader Ludovine de la Rochere said it now had “a bright future” because Hollande’s Socialist government had “destabilised families”.

But none of the leading candidates for the right-wing nomination for next year’s presidential election have said they have any intention of repealing same-sex unions if they are elected.

- © AFP 2016.

Read: Australian opposition blocks marriage equality vote due to divisive debate it would cause>

Read: Alabama Chief Justice suspended over gay marriage order>

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