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PARIS: Three separate columns of protesters filed through the French capital yesterday to protest against President Francois Hollande’s plan to legalise gay marriage and adoption
Several hundred thousand protesters — a mix of Catholics, conservatives, Muslims and evangelicals rallied at the Eiffel Tower where separate columns met in the late afternoon.
Organisers reserved five high-speed trains and 900 buses to bring protesters from provincial towns to the capital, some before dawn, to join Parisians and display the extent of the opposition that has built up in recent weeks.
“Nobody expected this two or three months ago,” said Frigide Barjot, a flamboyant comedian leading the “Demo for All” she described as “multicultural, multireligious and multisexual.”
Strongly backed by the Catholic hierarchy, lay activists have mobilised a coalition of church-going families, political conservatives, Muslims, evangelicals and even homosexuals opposed to gay marriage.
“We want this draft law to be withdrawn,” Patricia Soullier, a protest organiser, told BFM-TV before boarding a Paris-bound train in Montpellier in the south of France.
Hollande angered opponents of same-sex marriage by trying to avoid public debate on the reform, which Justice Minister Christiane Taubira described as “a change in civilisation”, and wavering about some of its details. REUTERS