Several hundreds of pro and anti marriage equality protestors rallied to London's Trafalgar Square, this afternoon.
The anti-equality protest started today (24 March) at 2pm and was organized by the French La Manif Pour Tous (March For All) campaign group.
Over twenty young children were forced to stand at the base of Nelson’s Column, shouting ‘Uphold Marriage’ as well as anti-gay slurs and holding banners in the freezing cold against gay marriage.
Organizers claimed as many as 2,000 people participated in their protest against gay marriage.
London co-ordinator Damien Fournier Montgieux, criticized the UK and French governments’ bid to legalize marriage equality: ‘Almost out of nowhere we are suddenly faced with a huge challenge to the future of marriage and the family in both France and the UK.
‘There has been no warning or consultation with the people.
‘It is children and the future generations that will suffer most as a result of these unjust changes.
‘This is now a pan-European challenge and it needs a pan-European response’.
One of the main speakers, Alan Craig, of the Anti-gay ‘Anglican Mainstream’ group declared that the UK and France are ‘united’ by a ‘willingness to stand up against sudden attacks on the vital institution of marriage’.
He slammed the UK prime minister, for supporting gay marriage, saying ‘David Cameron has bananas in his ears. He is not listening to us. The government is not listening to us’.
Despite organizes saying they were against homophobia, Craig alleged that ‘two men cannot be naturally intimate and consume one another by an activity’.
Other protestors shouted against adoption by ‘homosexuals who have an "interest" in children’.
Although fewer in numbers, the pro-equality protestors voiced their opposition with rainbow flags, shouting 'shame on you!' and ‘no bigots here!’.
'The protest was supported by the Secular Europe Campaign, a coalition of over 80 European secularist associations. In particular members of the British Humanist Association, the Central London Humanists, National Secular Society and the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association, were there today standing for universal human rights and equal marriage' told Marco Tranchino, one of the organizers, to Gay Star News.
Student Eliza Goroya showed her support for marriage equality and anti-bigotry by going bare-breasted FEMEN style.
She tweeted: 'Just went FEMEN against the anti-equality bigots at Trafalgar Sq. Feels good to be on the right side of history'.
Nicolas Chinardet, blogger and LGBT rights advocate French ex-pat who lives in London told Gay Star news: ‘Most of the anti-gay protestors were French white upper middle class.
'I found it particularly strange that the Manif Pour Tous protestors were talking about children’s rights, yet they made toddlers stand out in the cold and forced them to say things they probably don’t event understand’.
Chinardet, who is a GSN contributor, also stated that ‘despite the organizers claiming they are a grass roots campaign group without funding, they certainly had banners, leaflets and t-shirts which appear to have been well financed’.
‘I also find it curious that the Manif Pour Tous say they represent the mainstream and are not a religious campaign group, yet it sported religious figures, including Craig, the Anglican priest, evangelical groups and even a monk’.
Today's protest in London coincided with a larger protest by the Manif Pour Tous in Paris.
The National Assembly of France has already voted for the gay marriage bill which was last week approved by law commission of the French Senate; the bill will be put to a final vote in the Senate in just over a week’s time.
The ‘Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill’ for England and Wales had its first reading on 24 January and debated in the House of Commons on 5 February.
The bill was later approved on second reading in a 400–175 vote.
Checkout pictures of the protests taken by Nicolas Chinardet here: