Thousands March Across France to Protest Far-Right National Rally


PARIS, June 15 (Reuters) – Thousands marched in Paris and cities across France on Saturday to protest against the far-right National Rally (RN) ahead of upcoming elections to the French parliament. Following the RN’s surge in last Sunday’s European elections, police estimated that 350,000 people would participate, with 21,000 officers mobilized after labor unions, student groups, and rights groups called for rallies to oppose the anti-immigration, eurosceptic party.

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At least 150 marches were planned in cities including Marseille, Toulouse, Lyon, and Lille. In Paris, where police reported a turnout of 75,000, the march began at 1200 GMT from Place de La Republique, moving through Bastille square to Nation. The CGT union, cited by BFM TV, claimed 250,000 marched in Paris and 640,000 in total across the country. Police reported 217,000 demonstrators nationwide and seven arrests in Paris.

Speaking at Place de La Republique, CGT union leader Sophie Binet expressed concern about RN leader Jordan Bardella potentially becoming the next Prime Minister. “We want to prevent this disaster,” she said. Carol-Ann Juste, a 22-year-old student at her first protest, voiced worries about the RN’s “racist heritage,” referring to its predecessor, the National Front, led by Jean-Marie Le Pen, known for anti-Semitic and xenophobic remarks. Juste emphasized the need to “fight to preserve a country of human rights, freedom, and tolerance.”

On the same march, Cecilia Lormeau, a 34-year-old teacher who supports the Popular Front, a left-wing alliance, stressed the importance of showing that “the RN is not the majority of the people.” President Emmanuel Macron called a snap legislative election, scheduled for June 30 and July 7, after his centrist alliance was defeated by the RN in the European Parliament elections.

Initial opinion polls projected that the RN could win the election and potentially form the next government. An OpinionWay-Vae Solis poll for Les Echos and Radio Classique predicted the RN leading the first round of the parliamentary election with 33% of the votes, followed by the Popular Front at 25%, and Macron’s centrist camp at 20%. Other polls indicated the left close behind the RN and ahead of Macron’s group.

In Tours, western France, protesters carried banners reading: “For liberties, for rights, for a social and democratic republic, against far-right ideas and against racism.” Other banners included: “young people hate the FN (the RN’s former name),” and a pensioner held one stating: “Old people also hate the RN.“​⬤

By Naija247news
By Naija247news
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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