Thousands to march across France against far right

At least 150 marches were expected in cities including Marseille, Toulouse, Lyon and Lille.
Last Updated : 15 June 2024, 12:58 IST

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Paris: Demonstrations were expected 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 RN's surge in last Sunday's European elections, police said 350,000 people were expected to march and 21,000 officers had been mobilised after labour unions, student groups and rights groups called for rallies to oppose the anti-immigration, eurosceptic party.

At least 150 marches were expected in cities including Marseille, Toulouse, Lyon and Lille.

In Paris where up to 100,000 people were expected to turn out a march will set off at 1200 GMT from Place de La Republique, in the east, going through the Bastille square to Nation.

Speaking from Place de Republique, hard-left CGT union leader Sophie Binet told reporters: "We are marching because we are extremely worried that (RN's head) Jordan Bardella could become the next Prime Minister ... We want to prevent this disaster."

President Emmanuel Macron called a snap legislative election, to be held in two rounds on June 30 and July 7, after his centrist alliance was trounced by the RN in last Sunday's European Parliament ballot.

A first series of opinion polls have projected that the RN could win the election and be in a position to form the next government.

A poll conducted for Le Point magazine published on Friday forecast RN would lead in the first round of the parliamentary election with 29.5 per cent of votes, narrowly ahead of a coalition of left-wing parties called the Popular Front on 28.5 per cent.

Macron's centrist camp was on 18 per cent.

At least two polls have put the left not far behind the RN and ahead of Macron's group.

In Tours, western France, where hundreds of protesters were taking part in a March, a banner read: "For liberties, for rights, for a social and democratic republic, against far-right ideas and against racism".

Several banners read: "young people hate the FN (the RN's former name), while a pensioner carried a banner that read: "Old people also hate the RN".

Published 15 June 2024, 12:58 IST

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