Activists and members of the populist French National Rally (RN) faced down pro-migrant protestors near the Spanish border as they launched their regional election campaign.
Around 20 RN activists gathered near the Behobie bridge in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, led by politician Gironde Edwige Diaz. Holding a banner, they demonstrated against the crossings of illegal migrants from Spain into France.
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According to a report from broadcaster Franceinfo, the RN activists were met by pro-migrant activists from the “Solidarity Migrants” group, composed of left-wing Basque nationalists, members of the far-left France Insoumise party, an LGBT group, and others.
The counter-demonstrators also held up banners, including one that read: “The foreigner here is the RN.” The groups faced each other down for the better part of nearly an hour before local police arrived to separate them and cordon them off.
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The National Rally, headed by former presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, appointed Edwige Diaz to lead their campaign in the region late last month. According to Sud Ouest, the 33-year-old is considered a rising star in the party.
Diaz commented on the situation at the border with Spain, saying: “It has a very negative impact on France but also on the region since there is an explosion of burglaries and insecurity.
“In the Regional Council, we can act because the Regional Council funds, among other things, the training of migrants and unaccompanied minors… And so we consider that in view of the number of unemployed in New Aquitaine, training should be reserved primarily for locals,” she said. The regional election is scheduled to take place in June.
The RN protest comes just weeks after members of the anti-mass migration activist group Generation Identitaire staged their own protest at the Spanish border in the Pyrenees region.
Following the protest, the prosecutor’s office in Saint-Gaudens handed over the investigation to France’s Central Office for Combating Crimes Against Humanity, Genocide, and War Crimes (OCLCH).
French ‘Crimes Against Humanity, Genocide, War Crimes’ Body to Investigate Anti-Migration Protest https://t.co/LFJvRTTP6i
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