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Anti-gay protests turn violent in France

April 21, 2013 at 4:28 PM

PARIS, April 21 (UPI) -- The debate over legalizing gay marriage in France has turned violent with two gay bars attacked and hundreds arrested in protests outside the French Parliament.

The Guardian of Britain said two gay bars, one in Lille, one in Bordeaux, were attacked by "skinheads" with ties to neo-Nazi organizations who said announced they'd "come to beat up gays."

Protesters in opposition to France's largest social reform proposition since banning the death penalty in 1981 have clashed with police in riot gear, prompting mass nightly arrests and the use of tear gas to disperse the crowds.

Two lawmakers nearly came to blows on the floor of Parliament, The Guardian said.

The issue is expected to come to a head Tuesday when France's Socialist-led Parliament is expected to approve President Francois Hollande's bill to legalize gay marriage in the country.

If passed, France would become the 14th nation to legalize gay marriage.

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