May Day in Paris – Presidential Super-Rallies, Protests and Molotov Cocktails
The Gateway Pundit reports from a politically charged Paris, six days ahead of the historic French election.
It was the battle of the presidential candidates in Paris this afternoon, as nationalist, Marine Le Pen, addressed a huge crowd at the Parc des Expositions in Villepinte, suburban Paris, shortly before her adversary, Emmanuel Macron took to the stage several miles away to rally his own supporters.
Le Pen’s rally, the final ‘grand meeting’ of her campaign, was opened by her would-be appointee for prime minister, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who urged that to elect globalist Macron, whom he described as an immature, excitable version of President Hollande, ‘’would serve only to lock France in the prison of the European Union.’’
The wildly enthusiastic crowd cheered ‘’Nicolas, Nicolas!’’ as the leader of ‘Arise France’, newly allied to Le Pen, called for a Europe of free nations and criticized politicians who would ‘’save their skins rather than save France”, a critique of those political leaders on the right now calling for the electorate to vote left in order to preserve the status quo.
Le Pen too had criticism for François Hollande, France’s socialist leader since 2012, ‘’the president who never presided for the people,’’ she charged.
‘’Hollande was leaving by the door, as Macron was coming in through the window”, she joked, referring to Macron as the ”heir” to Hollande’s disastrous presidency, in which he served as Minister for the Economy.
‘’I am the candidate of the France of those who rise early, of those who plan for the days to come, of those who wish to preserve the heritage – material and immaterial – of our people, the candidate of the France which works hard to be proud of the country which we will be leaving to our children.’’
‘’I urge you to vote against the world of finance, of arrogance, of money über alles’’, Le Pen concluded, a not so veiled criticism of ultra-liberal Macron, the former Rothschild employee favored by banking and business interests.
‘’I need you and I’m counting on you’’, Le Pen implored.
Supporters in the crowd were buoyant, telling The Gateway Pundit that more than ever they were confident of winning, particularly with the left in-fighting and divided on how to stop their candidate.
Posing for photographs with the rising stars of the party, supporters remaining after the event appeared confident that Le Pen could achieve the impossible. Even those less confident of a win believed that they could attain a significant score which would boost the fortunes of the party in the legislative elections in June and beyond.
A short distance away in the north of the city, Macron was addressing his supporters, calling Le Pen’s Front National, ‘’the anti- France’’ and accusing her of isolationism, protectionism and nationalism which would lead to ‘’economic war, poverty and war full stop, war period!’’ May 7th would not only define France for the next five years but likely for decades to come, he warned.
‘’Get out the vote’’, he urged the crowd. ‘’Make her lose next Sunday!’’
9,000 police, gendarmes and military were involved in the operation to secure the day’s proceedings. From dawn, reinforcements of riot police in dozens of transport vehicles could be seen streaming towards Paris from outlying regions, as witnessed by The Gateway Pundit.
In Central Paris, the traditional May 1st trade union march, drawing 30,000 participants according to police – 80,000 according to organizers – was quickly marred by extreme left violence, as rioters clad in black, with faces masked, ran amok and clashed with police.
Within minutes of the cortège leaving Place de la République, the atmosphere, already tense, quickly degenerated into violence. Bus stops, ATMs, scooters, motorbikes and businesses were burned and vandalized along the length of the march, with smoke bombs, glass bottles and rocks thrown at police, who responded with tear gas.
Although local residents claimed that they had seen worse – the violence being intense but short-lived – images of Molotov cocktails engulfing police in flames quickly made headlines around the world.
The 1st of May – symbolic for the left – is also significant to French nationalists. For the Front National, it is a day of homage to national heroine, Jeanne d’Arc – Joan of Arc – the peasant girl who saved the nation in the 1400s by rallying French forces and turning the tide of the Hundred Years War.
Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the Front National, gathered with supporters, traditionalists and members of France’s ‘new right’ earlier in the morning at Place des Pyramides, near the Louvre to lay a wreath at the foot of the statue of Jeanne d’Arc. Describing his successor as a ‘’daughter of France’’, the ‘menhir’, as he is nicknamed, no fan of political correctness, gave the press little ammunition with which to attack daughter Marine.
By late afternoon, employees of the City of Paris were clearing the debris from the day’s protests, with a fleet of green garbage trucks and street cleaners in operation. The streets back to normal, the election campaign continued on the airwaves and on television news channels, with analysis of who had won the ‘duel’ of the rallies and reportage from various locations around the city.
The world’s media will descend on Paris this weekend ahead of the vote on May 7th. The Gateway Pundit, already in the French capital, will be reporting from across France between now and the election.
AFP PHOTO / Zakaria ABDELKAFI,Pierre René-Worms, France 24