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France: Opponents of gay marriage march to revive issue ahead of polls

Organisers of Sunday's protest aim to pressure politicians on the right, who face a presidential primary next month, to agree to repeal the law if they are elected president. Photograph: (Reuters)

Agencies Paris, France Oct 17, 2016, 01.13 AM (IST)

Thousands of anti-gay marriage protesters on Sunday took to the streets of Paris to defend their vision of family values.


About 24,000 participants protested to revive the issue in political debates ahead of the 2017 presidential election, according to police, international news agency Reuters reported.  Same-sex marriage, called “Marriage for All”, was legalised in 2013 by the Socialist government. 


Thirteen people were arrested after a scuffle at the protest, including six topless women from the activist group Femen, police said. Some of them had words "Hate is not a family value" scrawled on their chests. 


The protesters marched through prosperous western sections of Paris, waving French flags and the "Demo for All" movement's blue and pink colours. Some held signs declaring "All together for the family" and "In 2017, I'll vote for the family." Organisers estimated the turnout at 200,000.


"Even if the gay marriage law has been adopted, we will continue the protest to show that it is not good and we want it to be repealed. We want to influence the political debate that will take place in the coming months," Reuters quoted one protester as saying.


Former president Nicolas Sarkozy, who is trailing rival Alain Juppe in the race to head the conservative Republicans party ticket in 2017 election, said on Sunday he would not repeal same-sex marriage if he returned to the Elysee Palace, Reuters reported.


"I believe France has many other important issues to deal with such as security, terrorism and unemployment, rather than recreate conditions for another hysterical debate," Sarkozy said during a political discussion show.


(WION with inputs from Reuters)

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