Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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France’s youth ready for more teargas: Demonstrations against same-sex ‘marriage’ continue

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
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PARIS, May 7, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Last weekend a number of major French cities held new rallies against same-sex ‘marriage’ that, despite the Spring vacation, attracted many thousands of participants. Organizers of “La Manif pour tous” (Demonstration for all) claim 35,000 demonstrators in Paris, 20,000 in Lyons, 20,000 in Rennes, and thousands more in Lille, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Dijon and many smaller towns.

This is the fourth major rendezvous since November 17th, not counting numberless local demonstrations in Paris and the provinces that marked every stage of the legislative procedure. On April 12th the National Assembly passed the definitive language of the “Taubira Law,” named after French justice minister Christiane Taubira who introduced the bill in the name of François Hollande’s socialist government. But opponents have promised: “We’ll never give up, never, never, never!”

Hopes are not high regarding the Constitutional Court’s decision, which is expected to give the law the green light. Weeks before the law was adopted by the Parliament, the Court’s president Jean-Louis Debré announced in an interview that the Court would probably not censure the text of the bill.  It was considered a societal decision over which parliamentarians reign supreme. Rumours suggest that the Court will announce it’s decision supporting the legislation on May 16th - the International Day against Homophobia.

But this has not discouraged the French who are preparing for a drawn-out battle. The battle will include every possible means of resistance, including conscientious objection on the part of mayors who will refuse to celebrate these types of unions, judicial appeals and other types of visible action.

Sunday’s protests were meant as a “rehearsal” for the national rally on Sunday, May 26th in Paris, when France will be celebrating Mother’s Day. A number of parishes have already shifted religious ceremonies such as First Communions to other weekends in order to allow as many people as possible to join the third national demonstration against same-sex “marriage” and for the family.  The objective is to do better than the March 24th rally which saw one and a half million participants. Incredibly, it seems possible.

This author was in Brittany Sunday and joined the demonstration in Rennes, 350 km west of Paris. Participants were mainly families who drove to town from the coasts of Normandy, Brittany and Vendée where they ended their vacation early even though it was the first really fine day of the season.  They sacrificed their holiday to voice their determined opposition to same-sex unions and adoption.

Grandparents, parents and children walked together, many students and young workers also came up to town before returning to their jobs and colleges in the evening.

Boisterous and noisy, the march had a tougher tone than the Paris marches: many regional flags of Brittany and the Vendée gave it a strong identity and there was no severe screening of slogans.  At previous marches banners and Christian symbols which were as good as prohibited.

Police presence was minimal. Demonstrations against same-sex ‘marriage’ are taking place almost every day, big or small, and the riot police and law-keeping forces’ budgets are dwindling: what with vacations, work-time reduction, extra pay for night duty, and gasoline credits running dry to move police units from their barracks to the larger demonstrations, the government has less and less elbow room.

A scant thirty officers protected the Rennes demonstration from about 200 angry, insulting and violent counter-demonstrators who managed to invade the march’s rallying point in front of the town hall half an hour before the demonstrators arrived. They were dispersed by the police. But on Sunday morning, the house and car of a prominent defender of true marriage in Rennes were vandalized with red paint by LGBT activists: “homophobe!”  

The French mainstream media are beginning to take notice of what they see as a new social phenomenon: the awakening of an uninhibited, conservative, politically aware and mostly faith-filled youth who are prepared to take their share of violent police blows and teargas.  Such confrontations are a recurring phenomenon in Paris where groups have been active almost every evening since the beginning of April – and returning the following day to take more.

On Sunday, the “Manif pour tous” in Paris took the form of a family picnic on the lawns of the Breteuil Avenue. At the end of the rally large numbers of demonstrators then moved on to “greet” Prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault at the French state television’s headquarters where he was to give an interview, and then moved on to the “Périphérique” – the Paris beltway – and blocked it until they were dislodged by the police.

In Lyons, tension was much higher. The “Manif pour tous’” figurehead, Frigide Barjot, left the platform angrily when large numbers of demonstrators booed her for proponing a “civil alliance” for homosexual couples instead of same-sex “marriage”. She has taken an ambiguous stand from the start, but has gone too far in joining the latest press conferences and the Lyons demonstration with rainbow flags marked with the “Manif pour tous’” logo: a father, a mother and two children. Now, the larger associations that are organizing the opposition to same-sex “marriage” have clarified their point of view: what is being asked is the withdrawal of the Taubira law, no more, and no less.

The success of last weekend’s demonstration has given new ardor and determination to the movement of the “Veilleurs”: the “Watchers” or “Wakers”. Over a hundred French towns now have regular, often nightly reunions of young people protesting with lighted candles, silently meditating, listening to poetry or singing softly together.

In Nantes, the movement started a few weeks ago with three people who joined at the foot of the Cross of Charette, where the famous anti-revolutionary hero of the Vendée, François-Athanase Charette de la Contrie, was executed in 1796.

In a matter of days there were fifty. And now the “Watchers” are there every evening.

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