Hundreds of thousands of people gathered at Paris' Eiffel Tower yesterday to protest against President Francois Hollande's plan to legalise gay marriage and gay adoption by June.
Protesters, waving flags showing a father, mother and two children, included church-going families, political conservatives, some Muslims, evangelicals and even homosexuals opposed to gay marriage.
Organisers claimed 800,000 protested, while police put the number at 340,000, Reuters reported.
"The French are tolerant, but they are deeply attached to the family and the defence of children," said Daniel Liechti, vice-president of the National Council of French Evangelicals.
Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris and president of the French bishops' conference, sent a message to participants expressing "my support and my encouragement" and hoped the rally would demonstrate what the French "truly think about gay marriage".
Organisers had reserved five high-speed trains and some 900 buses to transport demonstrators in from the provinces.
Above: Young people at the demonstration carry placards reading: "Where is your daddy? Where is your mummy?" "Two mothers without a father, that's not equal rights," and "Long live equality, firstly, in marriage." Photo: CNS photo/Benoit Tessier, Reuters