LA CROIX (France), LE PARISIEN (France), AFP
PARIS - Some 350 people were arrested over the weekend in Paris, during protests against gay marriage. Meanwhile in the south of France, the Cannes Film Festival celebrated gay romance, awarding the top Palme d’Or prize to a love story about a lesbian couple.
Despite the law being officially enacted last week, the dispute over same-sex marriage is still shaking France. Police estimated that up to 150,000 joined marches on Sunday to demand the withdrawal of the law. Organizers claimed they were closer to one million.
After the rally, clashes erupted between far-right groups and the police. French authorities said they had made a total of 293 arrests and that six people were injured in the course of Sunday's demonstration: four police officers, an Agence-France Press (AFP) photographer and a protester, the AFP reports. A total of 350 arrests were made over the weekend.
— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) 26 mai 2013
"These incidents were provoked by several hundred individuals, most from the extreme right and the (nationalist) Identity Bloc, who violently attacked police," said Interior Minister Manuel Valls.
The first gay wedding will be celebrated this week and Valls ensured that “no disturbance from far-right groups would be accepted”, Le Parisien reports.
This country's strong divide over the issue of same-sex marriage was also on display at the world's premiere film festival. The Cannes jury, headed by Steven Spielberg, awarded its highest prize to a gay-themed film. “Blue is the Warmest Color,” by French-Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche, celebrates a love story between two young women.
Accepting the prize, Kechiche said: "I should like to dedicate this film to the wonderful youth of France whom I met during the long period while making this film. Those young people taught me a lot about the spirit of freedom and living together,” La Croix reports.
France is now the ninth country in Europe, and 14th in the world, to legalise gay marriage.