Despite candidates agreeing to suspend their campaigns Friday, French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve attacked anti-mass migration candidate Marine Le Pen over her reaction to the Paris shooting of a police officer Thursday evening.
Prime Minister Cazeneuve made his comments Friday during a statement to the press on the attack on the Champs Elysee in central Paris that claimed the life of one police officer and injured two others. Cazeneuve, a member of the French Socialist party, told the press that anti-mass migration Front National candidate Marine Le Pen was looking to exploit the terror attack to further her presidential campaign L’Express reports.
Cazeneuve accused Le Pen and Republican candidate Francois Fillon of “exaggeration and division” after they both commented on the Paris shooting. Ms Le Pen spoke on the matter on Friday morning saying, “once again, these are our police officers who were targeted and who have paid the price of the blood in the fight against Islamism.”
The populist candidate went on to say, “our police officers are attacked because they are the symbols of the state,” and advocated for the arrest of radical Islamic extremist suspects and for the immediate deportation of foreign extremists.
“The Islamist ideology must not remain in France. Salafist organisations like the branches of the Muslim Brotherhood should be prohibited. Hate preachers must be expelled, the Islamist mosques closed.” she added.
Cazeneuve also took issue with Le Pen’s comments about closing the borders saying that there was no clear evidence so far that immigration had a role in the terror attack. In past terror attacks, like the shooting at the Bataclan nightclub, it was revealed that several of those who took part had come into France through the so-called Balkan route during the migrant crisis.
The man who shot 37-year-old police officer Xavier Jugele has been identified as 39-year-old radical Islamist Karim Cheurfi who was recently arrested after trying to purchase a firearm with the intention of shooting police. He was let go by authorities due to a lack of evidence against him.
Cheurfi was also put in prison in 2005 for shooting at police officers and is a resident of the notorious Paris district of Seine-Saint-Denis which has a large migrant population.
The suburb became famous around the world as the epicentre of the 2005 Paris riots and more recently was the site of protests against police brutality after a man named Theo claimed to have been sodomised by officers armed with a baton.
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