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France will celebrate its first gay marriage as Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau tie the knot, days after the enactment of a gay marriage law that sparked violent protests.

Autin, 40, and Boileau, 30, will exchange vows in a civil ceremony in the southern city of Montpellier.

The city’s Socialist mayor will perform the townhall wedding on Wednesday, which is scheduled to take place around 5pm (4pm UK time).

A strong police presence is planned at the event, after a huge rally on Sunday by anti-gay marriage protesters degenerated into rioting.

Around 350 people were detained over the clashes in Paris. The rally mobilised around 150,000 people, according to police – over a million, according to the organisers – despite same-sex marriage and adoption having become legal a week previously.

The scale and vehemence of the No campaign took President Francois Hollande’s Socialist government by surprise.

The protesters, who are supported by the Catholic Church and some centre-right and far right politicians, claim they are defending the rights of children to have parents of opposite sex.

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