Clashes Erupt at Paris Anti-Gay Marriage Protest

Dozens arrested at last-ditch effort to block marriage law

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 25, 2013 2:19 AM CDT

(Newser) – A massive anti-gay marriage protest in Paris ended in violence yesterday as police used tear gas and batons on activists who tried to get past police barricades onto the Champs-Elysees. Hundreds of thousands of people had traveled to the French capital for what was seen as a final protest before legislation allowing gay marriage and adoption is passed by the French Senate, the BBC reports.

The legislation passed France's lower house last month and is expected to easily clear the Senate, which is dominated by President Francois Hollande's Socialist party. Support for the marriage bill has dwindled, however, amid wider discontent with Hollande's failure to improve unemployment figures or the crisis-plagued French economy, the AP reports. Officials say the hundreds of demonstrators who stayed to battle police at the tail end of yesterday's protest were mainly from far-right groups.

A protester clashes with riot police officers in Paris yesterday.   (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Anti-gay marriage activists dressed as Marianne, the symbol of the French republic since the 1789 revolution, hold flares as they demonstrate in Paris yesterday.   (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Anti-gay marriage protesters block the Champs Elysee during a demonstration in Paris yesterday.   (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
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