French protest against gay marriage turns violent - video
Police use tear gas and batons on demonstrators against same-sex unions
AN ANTI-GAY MARRIAGE protest in Paris ended in violence yesterday after police used tear gas and batons against a group of demonstrators who were pushing their way past barricades towards the city’s landmark Champs-Elysées avenue.
Police estimate around 300,000 people took part in the march against legislation, set to go through France’s upper house early next month, that will allow gay couples to marry and adopt. Organisers dispute the figures, claiming more than 1.4 million turned up at the second mass protest against same-sex unions this year.
France, a Catholic country, has seen sustained resistance from opponents of the legislation. Polls indicate a dwindling majority in the country backs gay marriage.
Things turned ugly at yesterday’s protest after around 100 protesters attempted to run on to the Champs-Elysées towards the presidential Elysée Palace. According to French newspaper Le Parisien, 98 people were arrested, with six taken into custody.
The anti-gay-marriage protests are also becoming an outlet for those unhappy at Francois Hollande’s presidency, with demonstrators chanting "Hollande, resignation!" The head of France’s Christian Democratic Party, Christine Boutin, who was tear-gassed by police after being caught up in the fracas, called on Paris police chief Bernard Boucault to resign.