EU Australia Online - News & information from the capital of Europe direct to Australian businesses

Season For Winter Protests

  • January 14th, 2013
  • Posted by EUEditor

paris-protest-12-13113.jpgSeveral hundred thousand assembled at the Eiffel Tower on Sunday to show their objection to same-sex marriage; capping a weekend of street demonstrations, not least, also, in Northern Ireland and Spain.

The French demonstration was a highly organised thrust at legislation being put through parliament by the Socialist Party government, to recognise gay and lesbian marriages.

People were brought in from provinces around the country to contribute to crowds estimated, by different sources to be in the range of 350-700000.

The prime mover has been the Catholic Church, but the crowds had a wide representation including several political figures and people from other faiths.

They waved pink and blue placards inscribed with the words, tous nes d’un home et une femme, (all are born of a man and a woman).

ilbao-protest.jpgIn Bilbao, 40000 protestors thronged the streets on Saturday to call for the transfer of Basque nationalist prisoners back to their home province.

Some 700 members of the ETA nationalist movement are in prisons in Spain and France, serving time for terrorist offences.

The ETA insurrection, which saw 800 killed over 40 years, has quietened down, with the movement deciding to resile from violent acts since the last deaths, in a car bombing in 2009.

The organisation objects to the practice of dispersing the prisoners so they cannot collude, saying that conditions for them in many of the prisons are inhumane.

See Spanish politics: EUAustralia Online, “Independence vote for Catalonia”, 20.12.12.

Trouble flared up again in Belfast

belfast-city-hall.jpgOne thousand people marching on from a loyalist rally at the Town Hall passed close by a Catholic republican area on Saturday, getting into a slanging match, and then trouble with police who’ve been trying to separate the two sides.

belfast-town-hall-protest-fire.jpgFollowing a pattern of the last month, bricks and bottles were thrown, police firing plastic bullets in response.

The demonstrations have focused on the Town hall, where the Belfast City Council last month decided to severely reduce the number of days it would fly the British flag, suggesting that would be a more “neutral” presentation to the world.

On Sunday, one thousand again appeared for a demonstration outside the building, this time a peace protest, condemning the resurgence of violence.

See EUAustralia Online, “Belfast troubles over flag”, 10.1.13.


AlJazeera, Doha, “Mass rally against gay marriage held in Paris”, 13.1.13., (14.1.13).

Jorge Garma, Spain, “Tens of thousands protest in favour of ETA prisoners”, 14.1.13., (14.1.13).

The Guardian, Manchester/ Reuters, “Anti-gay marriage protesters march in Paris”, 13.1.13., (14.1.13).

Henry McDonald, The Guardian, Manchester, “Belfast peace protesters rally against union flag violence”, 13.1.13., (14.1.13).

Robin Millard, “N. Ireland flag protests signal wider problems”, AFP, Paris, 13.1.13., (14.1.13).

VOA, Washington, “Basque rally in Spain calls attention to ETA Prisoners”, 7.1.13., (14.1.13).

Pictures   rt