French President Francois Hollande on
Thursday denounced the violence which took place on Wednesday night
during a rally to protest passage of a law legalizing marriage and
adoption for gay and lesbian couples.
“Homophobic acts, violent acts have
been committed,” Hollande
said in a statement. “The right to protest is recognized by
our constitution and accepted by the French. But no protest must
On Wednesday, the National Assembly
began its final debate on the bill. The measure has cleared both
houses of parliament, but minor alterations in the Senate sent the
bill back to the National Assembly.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls also
condemned the violence. He said protesters damaged cars and public
property along Paris' famed Champs-Elysees avenue and attacked police
officers and journalists. According to police, 11 people were
Police estimated the crowd at 2,400.
Organizers disagreed, putting the figure at 8,000.
Another 24 people who participated in a
counter-protest denouncing the anti-gay rhetoric were arrested,
Violence also broke out at a gay bar in
the northern city of Lille. Police arrested four men after they
verbally and physically attacked the owner of Vice & Versa. The
owner said his partner and a server were also injured and that the
attack was related to the debate.
The lower house is expected to give
final approval to the bill on Tuesday.
Opponents are planning a mass protest
in Paris on May 26.