Parisians march against gay marriage
John Lichfield has been The Independent's man in Paris since 1997, covering French news. Before that, he was the paper's Foreign Editor and he has also worked in Brussels and Washington. In 1999, he was the UK press Awards Foreign Reporter of the year.
Sunday 13 January 2013
More than 500,000 people marched against gay marriage in Paris today – the largest gathering of conservative and right-wing protest in France for 30 years.
Although extreme right-wing and Catholic fundamentalist activists joined the demonstration, the great majority of the marchers appeared to be well-heeled, middle-class Parisians or people bussed in from the provinces.
The demonstrators carried pink and blue balloons and painted pink and blue matchstick men and women on their cheeks to symbolise their demand that marriage and parenthood should be limited to traditional male-female couples.
The success of the march lays down a powerful challenge to President François Hollande, who made "marriage for all" one of the planks of his successful presidential campaign. Legislation is due to go through parliament before the summer.
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