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Thousands of people protest the far right before elections in France


 

Ahead of the next French parliamentary elections, thousands of people protested against the far-right National Rally (RN) on Saturday in Paris and other French cities.

After labour unions, youth organisations, and rights groups called for marches to condemn the anti-immigration, eurosceptic party, police reported that 350,000 people were expected to march and that 21,000 officers had been mobilised following the RN’s victory in last Sunday’s European elections.

There were plans for at least 150 marches in several cities including Lille, Lyon, Toulouse, and Marseille.

A march in Paris began at 1200 GMT from Place de La Republique in the east and proceeded via the Bastille square to Nation, where police said about 75,000 people attended.

640,000 people nationwide marched, with 250,000 taking place in Paris, according to the CGT union, which was quoted by BFM TV.

According to police, they had taken seven persons into custody in Paris.

Hard-left CGT union leader Sophie Binet addressed reporters at Place de La Republique, saying, “We are marching because we are really frightened that (the president of the RN) Jordan Bardella could become the next Prime Minister… Our goal is to avert this catastrophe.”

A 22-year-old student participating in the Paris March named Carol-Ann Juste stated that this was her first experience participating in a protest. Concerning the National Front, which was the precursor to the RN and whose leader Jean-Marie Le Pen was fined for comments seen to be anti-Semitic or xenophobic, she said she was “worried because people believe the lies of this party that has a truly racist heritage.”

Juste said she wanted to “fight to preserve a country of human rights, freedom, and tolerance”.

(Source: Reuters)


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