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Hundreds of Thousands Protest Against Populist National Rally

Hundreds of thousands of leftists took to the streets across France on Saturday to protest what they see as a threat to democracy over the possibility that people will vote for Marine Le Pen’s populist National Rally party in imminent general elections called by President Macron.

According to the far-left CGT trade union, 640,000 leftists took part in 145 anti-National Rally (RN) demonstrations across France on Saturday, with around 250,000 taking part in Paris alone.

The Interior Ministry’s estimate was significantly lower, but still represents a significant number: the government counted about 75,000 in Paris and 175,000 outside Paris, for a total of about 250,000.

The second largest rally was in Marseille, where an estimated 12,000 people took part in the protest, according to the ministry, followed by Nantes with 8,500, Rennes with 8,000, Grenoble with 6,900 and Toulouse with 5,000.

Protesters hold anti-far-right banners during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French trade unions and a new left-wing coalition to protest against the gathering National Rally on Saturday in Paris and across France amid frenzied mobilization ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Oyler)

At least nine people were arrested and three police officers were injured, according to the Paris police department. Figaro Reports.

At the Place de la Bastille, the starting point of the French Revolution, the July Pole was defaced by left-wing graffiti that read “Liberate Gaza” and “Bardella FDP” (Bastard Bardella), a reference to the popular 28-year-old leader of the anti-mass immigration National Rally party.

Saturday’s protests against the so-called “far-right” came after President Emmanuel Macron’s surprise decision to dissolve the National Assembly and call for early legislative elections. Many on the left fear that the Rally National will take control of France’s parliament, forcing Macron to form a “coexistence” government with Bardella as prime minister.

Following a heavy defeat at the hands of his Renaissance New Party in last weekend’s European elections, Macron appears to be hoping that he can exploit disunity on the French left to ultimately force the party back into supporting his neoliberal Renaissance party again in order to prevent the so-called “far right” from taking power.

A protester holds an anti-far-right banner during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French trade unions and a new left-wing coalition to protest in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surge in far-right nationalism, in a frenzy of activity ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Oyler)

A protester holds an anti-far-right banner during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French trade unions and a new left-wing coalition to protest against the gathering National Rally in Paris and across France on Saturday, amid frenzied mobilization ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

But his decision to call early elections seemed to ease divisions on the left, with the four main left-wing parties – the Socialist Workers’ Party, the Greens and the French Communist Party – and Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Indomitable France (LFI) forming an electoral coalition they named the New Popular Front, after a similar coalition formed in France before the Second World War.

The New Popular Front has been criticized by many for the inclusion of Mélenchon’s LFI, which has been accused of anti-Semitism and defending radical Islamic terrorists like Hamas, but it received a boost on Saturday when former Socialist Prime Minister François Hollande joined, announcing he would run as the New Popular Front’s candidate in the June 30 national parliamentary elections.

In contrast, despite the RN’s landslide victory in the European elections, the political right is divided and in disarray. The leader of the centre-right Republicans, Eric Ciotti, announced an electoral coalition with the National Rally, but party members plotted to oust him. In a sensational move, Ciotti briefly locked himself in his office at the party headquarters to prevent rebel forces from ousting him.

It remains to be seen whether Mr Ciotti will remain leader, but he claims that around 80 MPs support an alliance with the RN. Meanwhile, further infighting has erupted within the anti-mass immigration Reconquerte! party of author Eric Zemmour.

This week, Marion Maréchal, deputy leader of Le Conquet and niece of Marine Le Pen, left the party, accusing Zemmour of insisting on an electoral pact with her aunt’s party without consulting him and of obstructing its progress. Zemmour called this a “world record of betrayal” and expelled her from the party.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on X: Or email me at kzindulka@breitbart.com.

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