French police were forced to intervene after two same-sex couples were attacked by a violent mob for kissing at an anti-LGBT+ protest.
On Saturday (1- October), lobby group La Manif Pour Tous (LMPT) led a protest against a bioethics law which opens up medically-assisted procreation to all women, including same-sex couples. Methods such as surrogacy, artificial insemination and in vitro fertilisation are currently only available to married, heterosexual women.
As hundreds demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Justice in Paris, two men and two women entered the fray to counter the anti-LGBT+ hatred with a simple kiss.
“That day, we wanted to do an action during the Demonstration for All. We got closer to the podium. A third person was there to film the action,” one of the activists, Alexandre, explained to Liberation.
Moments after they kissed the crowd descended into a terrifying brawl, with Alexandre and his partner Richard quickly surrounded by protesters and violently thrown to the ground by LMPT’s own security team.
“We barely had time to start kissing when the security service fell on us. I was knocked down, the person who was filming too,” Alexandre said.
As he was pinned to the ground the security officer “tried to strangle me”, he told TÊTU. Seeing this, Richard punched the man, at which point the French police intervened and rapidly extricated the pair from the seething crowd.
“The police arrived to separate us,” Richard said. “In fact, they saved our lives and I don’t say that often about the cops… They took us out and protected us from the security service.”
Two women who kissed were also removed from the gathering in a less violent manner, it was reported.
The shocking scenes were captured on camera by photo-journalist Olivier Corsan, who shared the pictures on social media.
LMPT claimed: “It was not the kiss that posed the problem. Before kissing, they tried to jump on the podium. The police only intervened because they tried to get on the podium and then the police took over.”
This accusation is contested by the couple, and supported in videos of the incident.
When asked for clarification by TÊTU, French police said: “The intervention of the police took place when disturbances to public order were noted due to the presence of counter-demonstrators, who did not declare their demonstration.”
Alexandre refutes this, arguing that an innocent kiss should not be an inciting act.
“What the prefecture says is false,” he said. “Two men kissing in public space is not a counter-demonstration, we are not going to ask the prefecture for an authorisation to kiss each other!”