PARIS (AFP) – Tens of thousands were expected to take to the streets in Paris and Bordeaux on Sunday to demonstrate for what protesters see as “traditional family values”.
The demonstrations are organised by the “Manif pour Tous” (“Protest for Everyone”) group that waged an ultimately unsuccessful grassroots movement against the adoption of same-sex marriage in France last year.
Their target this time is medically assisted procreation techniques for lesbian couples and surrogacy, which must be “fought at all costs,” according to the group’s president Ludovine de la Rochere.
The group says they are hoping for a “slightly better” turnout than for last protest in February, which attracted around 100,000 people according to police.
Seeking to calm passions ahead of the rally, Prime Minister Manuel Valls stressed that surrogacy “is and will remain banned in France.”
Manif pour Tous mounted a vigorous campaign against same-sex marriage – at one point claiming to have 1.4 million on the streets of Paris – but President Francois Hollande defied the protests and in April last year, France became the 14th country worldwide to legalise same-sex marriage.
An Ifop poll for the Atlantico website on Sunday showed that less than a third (31 per cent) of French people were behind the values of the demonstration. And the “All Out” gay rights organisation has called for a counter-demonstration “for equality of all couples and families”.
They have launched an Internet petition that had attracted more than 200,000 signatures by Sunday morning.