Published: 16 Jan 2013 11:40 GMT+01:00 | Print version
Updated: 17 Jan 2013 09:30 GMT+01:00
The mayor of Paris, who is himself gay and a vocal supporter of same-sex unions, has infuriated anti-gay marriage activists by demanding an eye-watering €100,000 clean-up bill after Sunday’s mass demonstration in the capital.
Bertrand Delanöe is demanding the damages to cover the cost of the restoration of the grass around the Champs-de-Mars, where hundreds of thousands of protesters congregated at the end of the march against gay marriage.
For those who organized the demonstration, Delanoë’s move is a provocation.
“It is absolutely ridiculous,” Xavier Bongibault told The Local. “He would never do that if it was a pro-gay marriage demonstration.”
“He has taken a militant position towards us. He himself gave his agreement that the march could go ahead,” said Bongibault, who is gay himself but against same-sex marriage.
Organisers suggested to France's BFMTV they would not be paying up and Bongibault is proposing, all be it with a hint of sarcasm, that anyone who demonstrated on Sunday could return to the Champs-de-Mars to help replant the grass, as an alternative to paying the hefty bill.
According to radio station France Blue 107.1, Delanoë has sent the invoice to France’s interior ministry because it gave the authorization for the “demo for all” rally, which attracted between 340,000 and 800,000 people.
The Town Hall in Paris says it is up to the police to pass on the bill to the organizers of the march, France Blue reported.
French politician, Christine Boutin, an opponent of same-sex marriage, also tweeted her disgust at Delanoë’s actions.
“Who are you trying to kid? @BertrandDelanoe. Would he send over the bill for gay pride?,” Boutin said.
Despite Sunday’s protest, one of the biggest seen in the French capital in decades, the French government has vowed to push on with its plans to legalize gay-marriage and open up adoption to same-sex couples.
Delanoë is expected to join activists in a pro-gay marriage demonstration in Paris on January 27th, two days before the French parliament is set to discuss the proposals.
The historic Catholic pilgrimage site of Lourdes in south west France was evacuated on Tuesday after flash floods hit the area. Management at the shrine have told The Local they are growing increasingly concerned as waters continue to rise. READ () »
As a provocative new anti-smacking video campaign by the Fondation pour l'Enfance (Foundation for Childhood) causes a stir in France, the man behind the drive Dr. Gilles Lazimi tells The Local why France needs a law banning parents from smacking their kids. READ () »
French football stars Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema, went on trial on Tuesday, accused of paying to have sex with then underage call-girl Zahia Dehar. The process was adjourned until January, however, on a legal technicality. READ () »
The Eiffel Tower in Paris was evacuated by police on Tuesday after a man threatened to throw himself off the famous monument. Reports suggest, however, that emergency services personnel have succeeded in apprehending the man. READ () »
These words are not the latest outburst by notorious French basher, London's Mayor Boris Johnson, but were the opinion of Britain’s Napoleonic War hero Admiral Lord Nelson, whose outspoken views were revealed in a letter, auctioned in London this week. READ () »
A pregnant Muslim woman who was allegedly attacked in the suburbs of Paris by two ‘skinheads’ for wearing an Islamic face veil has suffered a miscarriage, it was reported on Tuesday. READ () »
A court in north-eastern France on Tuesday sentenced to jail an impersonator to French music icon Serge Gainsbourg for stabbing a rival tribute act for French rock star Johnny Hallyday, amid a bizarre feud between the pair. READ () »
France has more inmates behind bars than ever before, it was revealed this week, prompting hundreds of prison guards to assemble in front of more than 100 jails on Tuesday, in protest against over-crowding and safety concerns. READ () »
Much of the west and south west of France remained on alert on Tuesday with storms and heavy rain expected to hit the region, just a day after hailstorms wreaked havoc for wine growers in one part of the country. READ () »
France angrily hit back on Monday at accusations that its bid to protect Europe's film and television industries from Hollywood dominance was "reactionary". READ () »