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First anti-gay marriage protestor in France jailed

A 23-year-old was sentenced to four months in prison after protesting outside a television studio where President François Hollande was in an interview
Nicolas, a 23-year-old, was thrown in jail for protesting  President François Hollande's support of gay marriage.

The first person to be thrown in jail for protesting against equal marriage in France was sentenced to jail yesterday (20 June).

A Paris court sentenced Nicolas (no last name reported), 23, to four months in prison and given a fine of €1000 ($1.3k).

On Sunday (16 June), he participated in an anti-gay protest outside French television channel M6 studios where President François Hollande was being interviewed.

As there was tight security, La Parisien reports Nicolas was quickly arrested.

Police say he resisted arrest, refused to give a DNA sample and was a security risk. 

Frédéric Pichon, a lawyer heavily involved in defending anti-gay protestors in France, described the jail term as ‘outrageous’ and ‘monstrous’.

‘They wanted to make an example, it was in the crosshairs,’ he told the Associated France Press.

More than a hundred complaints have been made relating to the arrests outside the television studios, with some on Facebook calling the protestor a ‘political prisoner’.

Beatrice Bourges, spokesman for the one of the most extremist right-wing groups French Spring, said: ‘If you do not agree with the government, you are a rebel, and rebels go to prison!’

In May, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said he would consider a ban on French Spring, the most extremist of the equal marriage opponents, after it was believed they had been sending death threats to politicians and gay marriage supporters.

A protest calling for the release of Nicolas will take place on 23 June.

The ‘Marriage for All’ bill was signed into law on 18 May, with many of the first same-sex marriages following in quick succession.

The debates were marred by long violent protests and there were a rise in homophobic attacks.

Two gay men, who were attacked on the streets, became known as the ‘faces of homophobia’ after they were badly beaten.

Clément Meric, a gay rights and anti-fascist activist, was left brain dead after an attack from a group of skinheads. A protest took place shortly after his death calling for an end to violence.

Prior to signing gay marriage and adoptions into law, Hollande said: ‘Protests have taken place, but today it is the law and the law of the Republic.’

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