The French capital saw another day of anti-LGBT protests as thousands flocked to central Paris to protest legislation signed on May 18 by President Francoise Holland allowing same-sex marriages. Prior to the rally, police arrested over 50 protesters, RT Reported.
Nearly 5,000 police took up positions across Paris on Sunday, as up to 200,000 people have been expected to demonstrate in city’s center in four different simultaneous protest marches.
Organizers claimed on Twitter that a million people joined the demonstration. Interior Minister Manuel Valls urged families with children to stay clear of the demonstration route.
Three rallies are headed by the anti-same-sex-marriage movement, while the fourth is led by the traditionalist Catholic lobby group, Civitas. By late afternoon, the protesters were beginning to fill the Invalides esplanade just across the Seine River from the Champs Elysees.
The area around Les Invalides monument was full of opponents of same-sex marriages waving pink and blue flags, while far-right activists hung a banner on the ruling Socialist Party’s headquarters urging President Francois Hollande to quit.
The protesters have been heading from the three points around the city, and the march has reportedly been largely peaceful.
Prior to Sunday’s protest, 50 demonstrators were arrested Saturday evening after chaining themselves to metal barriers in the middle of the Champs Elysées and firing smoke canisters. Police also seized a van carrying masks, banners and smoke bombs.
France’s first-ever gay wedding, between two men, is due to be celebrated on Wednesday in the southern town of Montpellier.