The number of people who attended an anti-gay marriage rally has been revised from the organiser’s estimation of 1 million down to 150,000
Seen as a last-ditch attempt to derail the new bill that legalises same-sex marriage in France, thousands of protesters demonstrated.
PinkNews.co.uk has reported the number of those taking part at around 150,000 whilst the rally’s organisers, La Manif Pour Tous (Demo For All) have reported extreme figures of one million demonstrators.
The new bill, which was signed into law by President Francois Holland, has caused much controversy in France, after it made France the 14th nation to recognise same-sex marriage earlier in May 2013
Thousands of riot police were mobilised after an increasing number of the crowd became violent, when illegal teargas canisters and fireworks were reportedly used as weapons.
Around 50 people were arrested – and a vehicle was seized after masks, banners and smoke bombs were discovered inside.
The Independent reports:
About 200 young people, many of them masked, pelted police lines with bottles, stones, fireworks and flares. The crowd – led bizarrely at one stage by a lone bagpiper – chased and beat up TV crews and press photographers. Police and gendarmes responded with tear gas and baton charges.
There were surreal battle scenes on the Esplanade des Invalides beside the foreign ministry as 200 gendarmes in riot gear formed into defensive squares to beat off attacks from running bands of protesters. Although a hard core of about 200 hard-right youths started the fighting, many hundreds of other, soberly dressed, middle-class protesters cheered them on.