About 10,000 people gathered for a political demonstration in central Paris
French police used tear gas during a brief confrontation with protesters in Paris who had taken to the streets to oppose the two remaining candidates for the presidency: the incumbent Emmanuel Macron and the National Rally’s Marine Le Pen.
Un rassemblement de protestation de milliers de personnes a lieu actuellement à #Paris .Le slogan de l’evenement est "Ni Macron ni Le Pen"† More information about the efforts of the participants, la case "counter tous" est desormais absente des bulletins de voice français
— Milky Way (@MilkyWa34808762) Apr 16, 2022
Ahead of the second round of the election, scheduled for April 24, thousands of people took part in anti-fascist and anti-racist demonstrations in dozens of cities across the country, with the largest unsurprisingly taking place in the capital. The main aim of the protesters was to show their opposition to Le Pen, who see leftists as a far-right politician. However, many of Le Pen’s opponents do not seem happy with the prospect of a new term for Macron. In fact, one of the march’s most popular slogans was “Ni Macron, ni Le Pen†Neither Macron nor Le Pen†
Although more than 30 organizations and unions took part in the demonstration, fewer than 10,000 people attended, according to figures from the prefecture of Paris. This is a far cry from the size of the anti-Le Pen crowds that gathered between the two rounds of the previous presidential election in 2017.
At about 5 p.m., in the Place de la République square, police responded to protesters who threw projectiles and set bicycles and rubbish on fire by briefly releasing tear gas. The march was resumed shortly after the incident.
Paris 🇫🇷 demonstration against racism and fascism Arrival Place de la République the manifestation at the end of the quelques insults avec les Forces de l’Ordre comme d’hab.#manifs16avril pic.twitter.com/usSj0Ffgkf
— Lahouaria Cherif (@CherifLahouaria) Apr 16, 2022
Le Pen, who spoke to reporters in the south of France, commented on the demonstrations against her, saying that “protesting election results is deeply undemocratic†
†I say to all these people: just vote. It’s that simple,” she said.
The ‘Neither Macron nor Le Pen’ protest was one of at least six demonstrations that took place in Paris on Saturday. There was also a separate demonstration against Macron’s policies, a march in support of Ukraine and two Yellow Vest protests: one against the mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations and another for “social, financial and climate justice†
READ MORE: Macron takes on Le Pen in French election run
The presidency will be decided by a runoff election between incumbent President Emmanuel Macron and Le Pen, who won 27.6% and 23.41% of the vote respectively in the first round. Polls so far have pointed to Macron as the likely winner when the two face off on April 24.