Sun Jan 22, 2017 05:15PM
This January 21, 2017 file photo shows women protesting in Paris. (AFP photo)
This January 21, 2017 file photo shows women protesting in Paris. (AFP photo)

People in the French capital Paris have taken to the streets in their tens of thousands to protest against abortion and imminent restrictions on pro-life activities.

Organizers said about 50,000 people took part in the demonstration on Sunday and protested against increasing cases of abortion in France.

The protesters called on candidates in the upcoming presidential elections in France to set "public health policy that fights against abortion."

Francois Fillon, a right-wing politician and major presidential hopeful, expressed his personal opposition to the issue of abortion.

Some protesters, however, were unhappy with the politicians using the hype around abortion to their benefit.

“Some politicians dip a hand into the holy water and suddenly say abortion is unacceptable,” said Philippe de Villiers, a right-wing politician, who called the attitude to abortion in an election year as “totally hypocritical.”

They demonstrators also protested against a bill to ban pro-life websites from campaigning against ending pregnancies. The bill, which is now up for discussion in the French parliament, would criminalize any activity on the cyberspace which would interfere in abortions.

Jean-Marie Le Mene, who serves as the president of the pro-life Jerome Lejeune Foundation, said during the protest the new legislation, an extension of a 1993 law, has made abortion commonplace in France.

France made abortions legal in 1975. Around 220,000 abortions are recorded in the country each year with estimates showing that around one Frenchwoman in three undergoes the procedure in her lifetime.

Hundreds of thousands poured onto the streets in 2013 to protest a gay marriage bill. Fillon, a devout Catholic who opposed the law at the time, vowed that he would amend the legislation to partly repeal gay adoption rights. Fillon’s main rival in the May elections would be far-right National Front head Marine Le Pen.