April 21, 2013 11:54 am

Tens of thousands of French gay marriage opponents protest before expected passage of law

Anti-gay marriage activists hold flags and banners as they take part in a demonstration of the anti-gay marriage movement "La Manif Pour Tous" (Demonstration for all!) on April 21, 2013 in Paris.

KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
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PARIS – Tens of thousands of demonstrators have taken to sunny Paris boulevards to protest a bill that would legalize gay marriage.

The march wound its way across the Left Bank and was expected to culminate in a gathering on the vast Invalides esplanade Sunday evening.

A heavy police presence was deployed along the route. Previous anti-gay marriage protests in recent weeks have degenerated into violence. A counterdemonstration by those in favour of the bill was organized across the Seine river on the large Bastille square.

Polls have shown a narrow majority of French support legalizing gay marriage, though that support falls when questions about adoption and conception of children come into play.

© 2013 The Associated Press

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