Manif Pour Tous, an anti-LGBT group in France, marched in yet another protest against marriage equality in Paris on May 26.
French President Francois Hollande just signed the bill into law on May 18, allowing same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexuals to marry and adopt children. Protestors were holding up signs pleading for the president to resign and give the country one last chance to change its mind about passing the bill.
Although Manif Pour Tous (which translates to “demonstration for all”) claimed that a crowd of one million people showed up at their rally, police officials estimated that 150,000 people were at the event.
After a long day of chanting and holding up signs, the rally remained relatively peaceful until people started dispersing. Around five hundred protestors started throwing bottles, smoke bombs, and anything else they could get their hands on. Some even chased journalists who were covering the event, something that has happened at other rallies. Police responded with tear gas, and arrested an estimated ninety-six people.
Violence at these protests is not uncommon; at a rally in April, masked protestors started charging at police and journalists, even injuring some with bricks.
Police also arrested another fifty on May 25, the night before the rally, for chaining themselves to barriers in protest. A van filled with masks and smoke bombs was also confiscated.
Frigide Barjot, one of Manif Pour Tous’ infamous leaders and a born-again Christian comedian, has been very vocal throughout the legal process, and has urged people to back her up in her views of banning marriage equality. She chose not to even attend the protest on May 26, for fear of getting caught up in any violence that could too predictably break out.
Despite the multitude of protests, including the suicide of anti-gay historian Dominique Venner, France’s first legal same-sex marriages will be held as planned on May 29.