French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, a man that was instrumental in the advancement of France’s same-sex marriage bill, urged the country to remain calm on Wednesday, condemning acts of anti-gay violence in a Lille gay bar earlier this week.
Last night, four people were detained after carrying out an attack on the bar just days after several others were arrested in Paris for turning an anti-gay protest violent, attacking police and damaging cars on the street. Though opposition to the bill hasn’t swayed much in the National Assembly, gay organizations have been reporting a rise in hate crimes since the bill’s introduction.
“These protests have a right to take place, we are in a republic,” Ayrault said in a statement to the AFP. “But calls for violence, calls to hate, must be condemned.”
President Francois Hollande, who made legalizing gay marriage one of his major campaign promises, has also chimed in, instructing citizens to act accordingly during demonstrations. Though he respects “the right to protest,” he says “homophobic acts, violent acts,” have no place in the country.
The bill is expected to pass on April 23. When it does, these big wigs will have bigger problems on their hands during a mass protest planned for May 26, which will call for a referendum on marriage equality.
Footage from last week’s riot below: