Main | Thursday, April 18, 2013

FRANCE: Anti-Marriage Rally Turns Violent, Protesters Attack Police & Reporters

French President Francois Hollande today issued a statement denouncing the violence that took place last night after anti-gay marriage protesters attacked police and journalists.  Via The Local:
"Homophobic acts, violent acts have been committed. The right to protest is recognised by our constitution and accepted by the French. But no protest must degenerate," Hollande said. Several people were detained for questioning after cars and public property were damaged and police officers and journalists attacked, said Valls. Police put the number of detentions at 11.

According to 40-year-old lawyer Philippe, "the necessary attention has not been given to such an important bill". "A referendum at least would be a big step forward", agreed Etienne, a 19-year-old student who said he was joining as many of the protests as he could.

Organisers put the number of demonstrators at 8,000 while police said 2,400 people had protested. Twenty-four people who took part in a counter-protest denouncing homophobia were arrested, police said. The day before, some 2,700 opponents had gathered in Versailles outside the capital to protest the bill, leading to scuffles with police. Opponents have vowed new mass demonstrations in the next week.

In a separate incident, an attack was made at a gay bar in Lille.
Meanwhile in the northern city of Lille, three employees of a gay bar were insulted and injured late Wednesday in an attack by four men who smashed its windows. The bar's owner linked the incident to "tensions" surrounding the parliament vote. "I was hit by a chair," thrown through the window, he told AFP. Police later detained the suspects.
Towleroad tips us to this French news report:

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