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Huge Parisian protest in favor of traditional marriage ends in violence

PIERRE VERDY / AFP
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The peaceful protest turned violent when about 100 youth broke through a police barricade

In a last ditch effort to sway the French Senate to reject a bill that would legalize gay marriage, hundreds of thousands protested in Paris in favor of traditional marriage. A government official estimated the crowd to be about 300,000, while organizers claimed 1.4 million participated. The peaceful protest ended in a flash of violence as youth broke through a police barricade. ABC News has the story:

The first few hours of the protest were peaceful. But as it was meant to be winding down, about 100 youths tried to push past police barricades onto the Champs-Elysees, a tree-lined avenue that cuts through central Paris and draws throngs of tourists daily. In an indication of the sensitivity of the issue, protesters had been barred from marching on the Champs.

Police officers wrangled with the youths, some with shaven heads and others wearing hoods or masks, and fired tear gas to force them back. Gaining momentum, more and more protesters took side streets to reach the avenue, blocking a key intersection — and some made it within 100 meters (yards) from the grounds of the president’s Elysee Palace.
[…]
The official estimated that 300,000 people took part in Sunday’s march, slightly less than a similar march in January. Organizers estimated some 1.4 million people took part in Sunday’s march, more than in the January protest.

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