Quarter million protest in France against far right

By AFP
June 16, 2024
A quarter of a million people took part, police said. — AFP File

PARIS: Some 250,000 people took to the streets across France Saturday to protest the rise of the far right after their success in European polls prompted President Emmanuel Macron to call legislative elections, police said.

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In Paris, police estimated 75,000 people had responded to a call from unions, associations and a new left-wing political coalition formed for the parliamentary elections.

The CGT union put the figure at 640,000 protesters at a total of 182 rallies including 250,000 in Paris.

From Bayonne in the southwest to Nice in the southeast, from Vannes in the west to Reims in the east, demonstrators mobilised against the prospect of a victory for the far right in the legislative elections.

If that were to happen, National Rally (RN) party leader Jordan Bardella could become prime minister.

“I thought I would never see the far right come to power and now it could happen,” said Florence David, 60, who took part in the Paris protest.

“No need to vote RN to love France,” was among the slogans used.

The marches took place mostly in calm, apart from a few brief episodes of tension in Rennes and Nantes in western France where a few dozen hard-left activists were pushed back by the police with tear gas.

In Paris, street infrastructure was damaged and a bank branch was targeted by hooded protesters. The police there were also the target of bottles thrown to which they responded with tear gas, AFP correspondents said.

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