French gay marriage protest draws thousands

PARIS Sun Feb 2, 2014 7:33pm IST

People wave trademark pink. blue and white flags during a protest march called, ''La Manif pour Tous'' (Demonstration for All) against France's legalisation of same-sex marriage and to show their support of traditional family values, in Paris February 2, 2014. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

People wave trademark pink. blue and white flags during a protest march called, ''La Manif pour Tous'' (Demonstration for All) against France's legalisation of same-sex marriage and to show their support of traditional family values, in Paris February 2, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Benoit Tessier

Related Topics

PARIS (Reuters) - Thousands of demonstrators began gathering in Paris and Lyon on Sunday in a renewed protest against France's legalisation of gay marriage, which has mobilised conservatives of all stripes.

Organisers and police expected tens of thousands of people to join the marches against the Socialist government's "Marriage for All" law.

Ahead of the protests, Interior Minister Manuel Valls vowed that any violence against police would be dealt with severely.

Some 1,500 police officers were deployed in Paris and 600 in the central city of Lyon.

President Francois Hollande's government has dismissed speculation that it plans to increase access to medically assisted procreation and surrogacy for gay couples - which is nonetheless one of the protest themes.

The introduction of an "Equality ABC" programme to French elementary schools has also spawned outrage among traditionalists, amid internet rumours that small children are to be taught gender theory.

The protests are organised by "Demonstration for All", a right-wing umbrella group that emerged in response to the gay marriage law, passed last year.

"We are witnessing the constitution of a Tea Party à la francaise," Valls said in an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche, referring to the right-wing U.S. political grouping.

France's moderate right "has a duty to distance itself from movements that refuse to accept the democratic decisions of parliament", the minister said.

Geoffroy Didier, deputy secretary general of the opposition centre-right UMP, blamed the government for "pulling the pins on social grenades" during an economic crisis.

"More and more of our compatriots indeed want to preserve their economic, social and societal model," he said on RCJ radio, while adding that he would stay away from the protest.

"I wouldn't want to find myself alongside a minority whose positions are dubious or even quite problematic," he said.

The protests come amid heightened tensions over an upsurge in racist incidents that have blighted French public life and drawn condemnation from across the parliamentary spectrum.

Christine Taubira, the black justice minister behind the gay marriage law, was compared to a monkey by a National Front politician and depicted on the cover of right-wing Minute magazine with a headline pun about a banana.

French authorities also recently banned a show by popular comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala that includes a song about the Holocaust.

(Reporting by Laurence Frost; editing by Andrew Roche)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Ebola Outbreak

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Neclear Restart

Neclear Restart

Japan's Sendai nuclear restart in final stage: local governor.  Full Article 

Fight Unites

Fight Unites

Kurds' battle for Kobani unites a people divided by borders.  Full Article 

Railway Revamp

Railway Revamp

China to spend at least $33 bln on new railway lines.  Full Article 

Controversial Remark

Controversial Remark

Thousands denounce HSBC board member's likening of Hong Kong people to freed slaves.  Full Article 

Apple's Cook signals front line of new gay rights battle

Cook Speaks Up

Apple's Cook signals front line of new gay rights battle.  Full Article 

Gas Deal

Gas Deal

Ukraine, Russia, EU agree to natural gas supply deal.  Full Article 

Jerusalem Tensions

Jerusalem Tensions

Kerry urges restraint, expresses worry over tensions in Jerusalem.  Full Article 

Myanmar Roundtable

Myanmar Roundtable

Obama urges progress in Myanmar ahead of rare roundtable.  Full Article 

Active Volcano

Active Volcano

National Guard arrives in Hawaii town threatened by lava.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage