With only days before a gay marriage
law is set to take effect in France, thousands poured into the
streets of Paris on Sunday to demand its repeal.
The legislation, which takes effect on
Wednesday, makes France the 14th nation to legalize such
An estimated 150,000 protestors
gathered at the historic Esplanade des Invalides, turning the area
into a sea of pink and blue flags.
The movement is being shored up by the
increasing discontent with President Francois Hollande, who
campaigned on the issue of marriage equality and is blamed for the
nation's economic ills.
A banner calling on Hollande to quit
was hung by far-right demonstrators on the ruling Socialist Party
Opponents won an early victory when the
government decided against legalizing assisted procreation and
surrogate motherhood for gay couples in the marriage law. Opponents
said that they would continue to demonstrate against those reforms.
Absent from the event was Frigide
Barjot, whose group Manif Pour Tous (Demonstration For All) organized
the event. Barjot greeted protesters at a Paris station but said
threats of unrest by far-right groups were behind her decision not to
Nearly 5,000 police were mobilized to
secure the event.