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France: Thousands take to streets to protest gay-rights advances

Interior minister suggests country is seeing formation of a 'Tea Party à la française'

Thousands have poured into the streets of Paris and Lyon to protest the advancement of gay rights, including the legalization of same-sex marriage last year. Credit: Screen shot from Euronews

Thousands of protesters gathered in Paris and Lyon Feb 2 to resist France’s legalization of gay marriage,  Reuters reports.

More than 2,000 police officers were deployed to deal with protests of more than 100,000 people. Conservatives are angry about the passage of a gay marriage bill last year, as well as the introduction of elementary school gender-equality classes that they fear will include “gender theory.” Some also worry that the French government will legalize artificial fertilization for gay couples, a rumour the government has dismissed.

France has witnessed ongoing protests since the legalization of gay marriage, including by the aggressive, shirtless Conservative young men’s group Hommen. Protests this weekend, according to Reuters, were an uncomfortable alliance of Catholic and Muslim conservatives, all concerned about France’s growing acceptance of gay people.

In reaction to the protests, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said that no violence would be tolerated and suggested  France is seeing the formation of a “Tea Party à la française.”