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Protests sweep France against far right threat

Protests sweep France against far right threat

Alarm at fascist mobilisation for Macron’s snap elections after EU Parliament surge

Protests against the far right have been sweeping across France from Paris to Montpellier, following the its successes in the EU elections, and President Emmanuel Macron’s ill-fated reaction: a snap Parliamentary election. For two consecutive nights, hundreds of thousands took to the streets.

The protests reflect growing concern that Macron has provided the far right with a political opening, similar to centre-right enablers in the Netherlands and now the European Parliament. The far right party Rassemblement National (RN)—a new name for the Front National—won the French European Parliament vote with 31.5%. Macron then dissolved the general assembly, stating he had confidence in “the capacity of the French people to make the best decisions for themselves and future generations”. The first round of these elections is currently scheduled for the 30th of June, second being on the 7th of July.

Paris saw over ten thousand demonstrators burn barricades and holding the streets beyond midnight, facing tear gas and stun grenades.In Bordeaux, demonstrators gathered at the Place de la Victoire, protesting with graffiti and trash fires while police fired tear gas. Here too, many continued to hold the streets. The night also saw attacks on far-right bars, banks, and brand outlets. In Angers, the bar “Le Bazar” known as a neo-nazi headquarters was attacked.

Demonstrators in Bordeaux. Photo: La Grappe

Nantes saw around 4,000 demonstrators (according to official counts) who marched towards the police station, where they set barricades ablaze. Similar confrontation took place in Lyon, Toulouse, Rennes. Strasbourg, Caen, Montpellier, Nancy, and other cities. In Dijon, high school students walked out at 10:30 am on June 11 and called on students across the country to join them.

Further anti-fascist assemblies planned during this week, with the organisers of a rally in Paris stating that “Macron the arsonist” had “rolled out the red carpet for the fascists” while warning that “our salvation will not come from the ballot box”.

~ Alisa-Ece Tohumcu

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