SEVERAL thousand protesters gathered at Versailles and in Paris to continue opposing plans for gay marriage in the run-up to the final vote on Tuesday.
The moves came after protest group Manif pour Tous called for nightly protests at landmarks and outside the National Assembly, where MPs are in the second reading of the proposed law.
Police said around 40 people were arrested during the demonstration at the Assembly. They had refused to leave despite pleas from UMP MPs who had come out to show support and to ask them to go.
Earlier, groups of skinheads had set up a tent on the Quai d’Orsay before being cleared by CRS riot police.
Parish archbishop Cardinal Vingt-Trois has denounced the plans saying that they will lead to a “violent society”. He warned that pushing through the gay marriage plans would “simplify life for the moment” but could “paralyse political life”.
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has called on the “republican opposition” to “take responsibility” for “national cohesion” and play a role in keeping the peace despite their opposition to the plans. He said they had the right to protest but calls for violence and hate should be condemned.
Paris charity Refuge, which helps young people thrown out of their homes by parents who reject their homosexuality, has refused a donation offered by Frigide Barjot, the spokesperson of the Manif pour Tous group. Refuge said that her actions had led to an increase in homophobic threats and violence.