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Men held after attack on gay bar

Owner and staff are assaulted before customers save them and throw men out

FOUR men have been arrested after attacking the owner and staff of a gay bar in Lille.

The attacks come as the bill to legalise gay marriage goes through its final reading in the National Assembly. The bill’s progress was speeded up to clear the legislative calendar as it was due to be finalised at the end of May.

Saying they were there to “beat up some gays” the men burst into the bar and started attacking the owner and two barmen. They threw chairs at the windows before customers fought back and threw them out.

Several demonstrations have been held in Lille against the Mariage pour Tous bill and homosexual group Fédération LGBT denounced such “inacceptable violence” in a climate of harassment and homophobia.

Lille scored just 19 out of 100 in a recent report into towns’ efforts to combat homophobia. Paris and Amiens were top with 70.

Protest group SOS Homophobie says that attacks have risen 30% since the bill started its first stages in parliament. Spokesman Ludovic Saulnier said : “Once well-known people started making violent remarks a social barrier was broken. They gave a sense of authority for people to pass from the word to the action.”

Related article: Towns doing little on homophobia

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