French far-right leader is caught by the neck during a rally fight

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French extreme right-wing journalist and candidate Eric Zemmour was caught in the neck on Sunday (5) in a fight during the launch event of his campaign for the presidency of France in 2022.

As Zemmour moved through the crowd towards the stage to deliver his speech, a man lunged forward and grabbed the candidate by the neck in an act that lasted only a fraction of a second, before he was approached by security and taken into police custody.

Although Zemmour made his speech, his team later said he was injured in the incident and that a doctor asked for a nine-day rest, reported Le Monde newspaper.

Zemmour promises “reconquest”

The French journalist promised, during his first political rally, a “reconquest” of the country after what he called decades of decline.

“If I win this election, it won’t be another rotation of power, but a recapture of the greatest country in the world,” Zemmour said in a speech lasting nearly an hour and a half.

The expression evokes the historical period known as the “Reconquista”, when Christian forces expelled Muslim rulers from the Iberian Peninsula.

Echoing Donald Trump’s first campaign for president of the United States, Zemmour has vowed to veto immigration and do away with some taxes, which has caused an effusive round of applause from his 15,000 supporters in attendance, organizers say. The Reuters count estimates around 10,000 attendees.

Argument

Zemmour’s supporters punched and chaired several protesters wearing anti-racism T-shirts and trying to stand up as Zemmour made his first speech since declaring his candidacy.

Five protesters were injured, the association said.

Before the start of the demonstration, police arrested several dozen protesters against the far-right candidate, and chased others around the gigantic convention hall, north of Paris.

Hundreds of protesters also marched in Paris against the candidate and his banners.

Zemmour ended weeks of speculation about a presidential candidacy on Tuesday (30), declaring his candidacy in an online video.

One of the leaders of the French extreme right, Zemmour was convicted of inciting racial hatred.

He is the main opponent of another representative of this political faction in France, Marine Le Pen, for a place in the second round of elections next April, probably against President Emmanuel Macron.

Known for provocative statements against Islam and immigration, he won the support of both Le Pen’s constituency and the traditional conservative right.

He said he aims to zero immigration if elected and cut taxes for the working class and businesses, while eliminating the inheritance tax on family businesses.

He also said he would withdraw France from the integrated military command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Zemmour courted disillusioned supporters of traditional conservatives, describing as his “friend” the rightist Eric Ciotti, who fared much better than expected in Les Republicains’ center-right primary.

Ciotti ended up losing to Paris metropolitan region’s more moderate boss Valerie Pecresse in a second round on Saturday (4).

At a smaller political rally, far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon backed off against the right swing, telling supporters: “No, France is not all about the far right, France is also about social security , public health.”

Reference: CNN Brasil

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