Tens of thousands of protesters were reported to have marched in Paris and Lyon on Sunday against the French government’s legalisation of same-sex marriage.
According to AFP, protesters accused French President Francois Hollande’s government of “family phobia” following new laws easing abortion restrictions and legalising equal marriage.
Police reported that around 80,000 people had taken to the streets in Paris, which was a lower figure than that reported of the march organisers’ estimate of half a million. This was not the first time organisers estimated a wildly different number from authorities.
At least 20,000 also rallied in Lyon, waving placards with anti-equal marriage messages such as:“Two Fathers, Two Mothers, Children With No Bearings.”
Other messages included attacks on school programs which support gender equality as well as medically assisted procreation techniques for lesbian couples.
Some were also reported to have shouted anti-Semitic slogans.
Protest for Everyone (LMPT) President Ludovine de la Rochere said she was thrilled by the turnout.
LMPT official Francois de Vivies also attacked a new EU plan designed to combat homophobia, which he says “again tries to tell us how we are supposed to educate our children.”
Ahead of the protest, some 1,500 police officers were deployed in Paris and 600 in the central city of Lyon, according to Reuters.
It came just after a week since the “Day of Rage” demonstration against the French government, which ended in clashes between police and protesters leading to the detention of 226 people, and leaving 19 police officers wounded.
The Interior minister, Manuel Valls, warned yesterday that any violence towards the police would be dealt with severely.
A law recognising equal marriage took effect in May, which followed months of sometimes violent protests and a rise in homophobic attacks.
Earlier last year Jean-Michel Colo, the mayor of Arcangues, in south-west France, refused to marry a gay couple and said ”I will go to the gallows” in order to defy the law.