President Fran�ois Hollande

President Fran�ois Hollande has condemned an attack on a gay bar in Paris as anti-gay sentiment in France becomes increasingly violent.

The latest incident comes as the country moves to legalise gay marriage and adoption, despite widespread opposition that appears to be boiling over.

On Wednesday, as thousands of people protested against the same-sex marriage bill in Paris, a group of men trashed a gay bar in the northern city of Lille.

Windows were smashed and three employees were injured in the incident, which the bar’s owner said was related to tension over the legislation.

“They came to beat up gays – that’s exactly how they phrased it,” he told Reuters.

Four people have been arrested in connection with the attack.

The protests in Paris also saw demonstrators being detained after they clashed with police and damaged cars and public property.

Hollande, whose government is a supporter of the bill, told journalists: “I cannot accept … homophobic acts and violence against property in the midst of protests, or any defiance of law enforcement officials.”

“(Democratic) procedures must be respected, sensibilities must be respected, and everyone must be heard … But the law and parliament also need to be respected,” he said.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault stated: “These protests have a right to take place, we are in a republic. But calls for violence, calls to hate, must be condemned.” He urged right wing groups to not inflame the situation.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls also condemned “with the greatest firmness, the homophobic aggression perpetrated last night in a bar”. He said that the four suspects “clearly belonged to the extreme right movement”.

Introducing the bill for its second reading in parliament, Justice Minister Christiane Taubira slammed the “spouters of hatred” who oppose the legislation, insisting that it “takes nothing away from them – there is more than one way to live as a couple or as a family”.

LGBT rights groups say that there has been a dramatic spike in anti-gay incidents this year, tripling in number compared to the same period last year.

Earlier this month, Wilfred de Bruijn and his boyfriend were brutally attacked as they walked arm in arm in the French capital. A picture of de Bruijn’s horrific injuries went viral soon after.

Police confirmed that another gay couple was attacked that same weekend in Paris.

The same-sex marriage and gay adoption bill is expected to be approved after its second reading within days. Conservative and right wing groups have promised to hold another mass demonstration should it be passed.

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