Marine Le Pen railed against her rivals and the media as clashes erupted at her rally in Nantes at the weekend.
In a typically fiery speech to 3,500 supporters, the far-right Front National leader said both her rivals, Emanuel Macron and François Fillon, did not believe in France anymore.
“Our two main competitors want to bring the state under control. These people are not free. One is the insurance candidate, the other is the one of the bank and the media,” Le Pen said, according to Le Point.
She then cited US President Donald Trump and the Brexit vote in the UK, as evidence that “in this new world that is emerging, I am the best placed to speak in the name of France.” She added that her plans were “in tune with the great planetary movement which consists of the awakening of the peoples [and] the return of national frontiers and national pride,” according to The Times.
Although she called current President François Hollande “incompetent,” her most pointed attacks were against Macron, the independent candidate of the En Marche party he founded. She called him the “candidate of the Rothschild bank,” who “promoted immigration” in Berlin and then went to Algeria to “justify a migratory highway between Algiers and Paris.”
A new poll published on Sunday shows the gap between Le Pen (27%) and Macron (25%) is narrowing in the first round of the election, while Fillon (19%), The Republicans’ presidential candidate, is losing more support amid allegations he paid family members for fake parliamentary assistant jobs.
Much like Trump, Le Pen also lashed out at the media in her speech. She said the press “scream about the freedom of the press as soon as they are criticised and whimper about having lost the confidence of the people who turn to the internet.
Clashes at Le Pen rally
Around 2,000 people gathered to demonstrate against Le Pen and her party in Nantes, prompting clashes with riot police and protesters.
According to police, several paramilitary police officers were wounded by projectiles, several shop windows were smashed, and a bus transporting FN supporters was covered with white paint by demonstrators. Police responded by firing tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowd, according to Reuters.
Le Pen reacted to the clashes during the rally. “We will never bow to seeing militias of the far left wrecking, burning and attack the physical integrity of the police as yesterday in Nantes with the more or less obvious complicity of the government,” she said.
Fillon also reacted to the clashes on Sunday, accusing the government of not doing enough to curb the violence that has surrounded campaign events, citing a both the clashes at Le Pen’s meeting and a Macron event last week that was disrupted by protests.
Fillon said in a statement that just two months before the presidential election, France was witnessing a “quasi-civil war,” Reuters reports.
Although most polls still show Macron and Fillon would ultimately beat Marine Le Pen in the second round of the election, the latest polls also show that 83% of Le Pen electors are sure of their choice, while only 75% and 58% are certain about their votes for Fillon and Macron respectively.
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