Emmanuel Macron in crisis as France is gripped by huge protests with snap election looming

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun12,2024

More than 20,000 police are being deployed across France as country braces with widespread protests after sweeping gains by Marine Le Pen’s National Rally in the European elections earlier this month.

Anti-racism groups today joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France, with frenzied campaigning underway prior to next month’s parliamentary elections, called by President Emmanuel Macron in response to the results of the Europe-win poll.

In Paris, those concerned the domestic vote will produce France’s first far-right government since World War II are gathering at Place de la Republique before marching through eastern Paris.

The French Interior Ministry said 21,000 police and gendarmes would be deployed at protests across the country, with authorities expecting between 300,000 and 500,000 protesters nationwide.

In the French Riviera city of Nice, protesters chanted against the National Rally, its leader Jordan Bardella as well as against Mr Macron himself, as they marched down Jean Medecin Avenue, the city’s main shopping street, yesterday

Protest organisers said 3,000 took part, with the police putting the number at 2,500.

Nice is traditionally a conservative stronghold, but has over the past decade backed Ms Le Pen’s National Rally and her far-right rival Eric Zemmour.

Crowds have been gathering daily in cities throughout throughout France ever since the anti-immigration National Rally made historic gains in the European Parliament elections, crushing Macron’s pro-business moderates and prompting him to dissolve the National Assembly.

New elections for the lower house of parliament were set in two rounds, for June 30 and July 7. Mr Macron remains president until 2027 and in charge of foreign policy and defence, but his presidency would be weakened if the National Rally wins and takes power of the government and domestic policy. He has however vowed not to resign whatever the result.

A French union statement said: “We need a democratic and social upsurge – if not the extreme right will take power.

“Our Republic and our democracy are in danger.”

The statement warned that in Europe and across the world, extreme-right leaders have passed laws they believe to be detrimental to women, the LGBTQ+ community, and people of colour.

To prevent the National Rally party from winning the upcoming elections, left-wing parties finally agreed Friday to set aside differences over the wars in Gaza and Ukraine and form a coalition. They urged French citizens to defeat the far right.

French opinion polls suggest the National Rally – whose founder has been repeatedly convicted of racism and antisemitism — is expected to be ahead in the first round of the parliamentary elections.

The party came out on top in the European elections, garnering more than 30 percent of the vote cast in France, nearly twice as many votes as Macron’s party Renaissance.

Macron’s term runs for three more years, and he would retain control over foreign affairs and defence regardless of the result of the French parliamentary elections.

However, his presidency would be undermined if National Rally wins, with the result that he may have little option but to make 28-year-old RN leader Mr Bardella his next prime minister, with authority over domestic and economic affairs.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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