France: 4 people detained over gay bar attack

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France’s Interior Ministry says four people have been detained on suspicion of carrying out an attack at a gay bar in Lille.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls said in a statement on Thursday that the suspects are accused of intentionally targeting gay customers in the bar, punching the bar manager and causing material damage.

The ministry also said several other people were detained in Paris late on Wednesday after a protest against equal marriage ended with some protesters fighting police and damaging cars along the Champs-Elysees avenue.

France’s decision to press ahead with equal marriage has been met with a rise in homophobic and transphobic incidents in the past year.

Last week, during a pro-equality demonstration, Elizabeth Ronzier, head of SOS homophobie, said there had been a 30% rise in reports of homophobic and transphobic assaults in France last year.

Meanwhile, around 70 anti-gay protesters were detained at the start of the week in Paris.

Both houses of the French Parliament have approved a bill legalising equal marriage and adoption by same-sex couples in a first reading. The second reading is taking place this week.