France: Water cannons deployed in Paris ahead of same-sex marriage vote

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Security is being stepped up around France’s National Assembly building in Paris ahead of a landmark equal marriage vote.

The National Assembly is due to pass the bill, which would also give same-sex couples adoption rights, at 15:15 GMT today.

It will be the final vote on the legislation and the measure is expected to pass.

Even for a country used to prominent public demonstrations, recent events have taken many people by surprise.

Violent attacks against French gay citizens – such as Raphaël Leclerc and Wilfred de Bruijn – have surged with several politicians also receiving threats.

Claude Bartolone, the speaker of France’s National Assembly yesterday received an envelope containing ammunition powder and a threatening letter calling on him to delay Tuesday’s equal marriage vote.

The Associated Press reports water cannons and “legions of officers” have been deployed around France’s National Assembly over fears of renewed violence by anti-gay protesters.

Last week, President Hollande condemned displays of homophobic violence.

He was speaking after France’s Interior Ministry confirmed that four people had been detained on suspicion of carrying out an attack at a gay bar in Lille.

The owner linked the incident to “tensions” over the country’s equal marriage bill.