French riot police used batons and tear gas to stop anti-gay protestors from marching in a restricted area.
An anti-gay marriage protestor used his young child to protect himself as he challenged police during a protest in Paris yesterday (24 March).
In an video posted by French group Humanophobie ou Condition Humaine and reported on byAmericaBlog.com, it shows a man with a toddler on his shoulders shouting ‘On met les enfants devant!’ which translates as ‘Put the kids in front!’
The police had just used tear gas and batons to push back protestors when they attempted to march into a restricted area.
Authorities had earlier banned anti-gay protestors from marching on the Champs-Elysees. They followed a nearby route, and made frequent attempts to make their way onto the famous street.
Police had turned down the request to march on the Champs-Elysees on the grounds it would be a threat to public order, as well as because it borders President Francois Hollande’s palace.
While organizers claimed their numbers were at 1.4 million, police gave a more modest initial estimate of 300,000.
Banners held up along the route read ‘We want work not gay marriage,’ and ‘no to gayxtremism’.
Speaking to the Agence France-Presse, a 30-year-old protestor named Marie said: ‘We will not give up anything. We came to defend the fact that a father and a mother is better for children.’
A similar rally in London, organized by anti-gay group La Manif Pour Tous (March For All), was attended by a few hundred people protesting against the marriage equality bills in France and the UK.
The ‘Marriage For All’ bill, which will legalize same-sex marriage and adoption in France, was adopted by the lower chamber of parliament and will go to the Senate for examination and approval in April.
A separate law on providing medically assisted conception to gay couples, already extended to heterosexual couples unable to conceive, will be debated later in the year.