Opponents of marriage equality staged a march in Paris over the weekend that ended violently as protesters attempted to challenge police barricades. The city had originally denied the anti-equality group a permit to march down the famed Champs-Elysées because of safety concerns, so organizers proposed an alternative route. Though the march of some 300,000 proceeded mostly peacefully, it took a violent turn when a group of 100-200 protesters insisted on returning to the original route. Police countered with tear gas to hold them back from the prohibited area.
The French National Assembly approved marriage equality in February, and the Senate is expected to easily pass it in early April. Despite the size of Sunday’s protest in addition to January’s similar protest, polls show that the issue is not as controversial as the media portrays it, with 63 percent supporting marriage equality.
Among the protesters challenging the barricade was at least one man who insisted on using his own young child as a kind of human shield to challenge the police. Other young people can be seen nearby. Below are two clips of the violence, and the negligent father can be seen at the end of the second.