Paris: Anti-gay marriage protests end in violence

A large protest in France by opponents of the country’s new marriage equality law turned violent on Sunday.

Paris police estimate 150,000 demonstrators marched along three different routes before converging in the sprawling plaza along the Seine River. While mainly peaceful, at the end of the rally several hundred of the protesters became violent.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls said on Monday that police had made a total of 350 arrests, and that 36 people had been injured: 34 police officers, one AFP photojournalist and one protester. Valls blamed the “extreme right” for the violence.

“These incidents were provoked by several hundred individuals, most from the extreme right and the (nationalist) Bloc Identitaire, who violently attacked police,” he added.

On May 18, French President Francois Hollande signed into law a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt. The signing came a day after France’s top court, the Constitutional Council, ruled that the bill adheres to the constitution.