WATCH: Antifa, Communists Riot Outside French Presidential Candidate Zemmour’s Campaign Event

French far-right party Reconquete! presidential candidate Eric Zemmour attends a campaign rally in Lille, northern France, on February 5, 2022, ahead of the April 2022 presidential election in France. (Photo by JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP) (Photo by JULIEN DE ROSA/AFP via Getty Images)
JULIEN DE ROSA/AFP via Getty Images

Communist and Antifa activists in France are reported to have been involved in riots outside a campaign event for firebrand French Presidential candidate Éric Zemmour.

Activists from Antifa as well as at least one French student communist organisation are said to have gathered in a counter-protest against a campaign event being held in Lille for Éric Zemmour that devolved into violence in response to the French Presidential candidate appearing in the northern city.

The political firebrand has generated serious controversy since long before he entered the race for the Élysée Palace, with the populist leader of Berber Jewish origin most recently coming under fire for claiming that reducing immigration to zero would drastically reduce crime in France.

According to an online post from a La Voix Du Nord journalist, Antifa students and youth organisations were present on the scene in the run-up to the sustained clashes with police.

An image posted by the reporter also shows flags with the logo of the student communist organisation Mouvement Jeunes Communistes de France (JC) as being present at the counter demo.

Footage from the counter-protests reveals protesters — many of whom are dressed almost entirely in black — clashing with law enforcement, with tear gas being deployed by police in an attempt to combat the violent demonstration.

One video from the event also depicts anti-Zemmour protesters letting off fireworks at police, while another shows those attending the rally reportedly chanting “Zemmour get out, Lille is Antifa”.

Le Figaro has meanwhile backed up claims that Antifa activists were present at the violent clashes, citing an AFP police source as saying that around 800 “antifa” activists, including 200 so-called “ultras”, had shown up to the event.

Also demonstrating against Zemmour in Lille on Saturday was SOS Racisme, an NGO organisation that filed an official complaint against the presidential candidate late last month after he linked migrants in France to crime.

The NGO’s protest was also endorsed by the Mayor of Lille, Martine Aubry, who said that Zemmour was “not welcome” in the city.

“There were many of us this morning in Lille, to say No to the far-right candidate. No to racism, No to anti-Semitism, No to hatred!” the organisation wrote online regarding the Jewish presidential candidate’s event.

As France’s presidential election campaign heats up ahead of this April’s vote, the race’s two most right-leaning candidates, Zemmour of Reconquête and Marine Le Pen of Rassemblement National, have begun to clash.

Le Pen, this week, accused Zemmour’s camp of harbouring “a few Nazis”, along with “pagans” and “traditional Catholics”, while Zemmour has managed to poach a number of senior figures from Le Pen’s party to support him, possibly including the veteran populist’s own niece, Marion Marechal.

The pair also held competing rallies on Saturday, with Zemmour’s event outnumbering Le Pen’s, attracting around 8,000 attendees.

However, the main rival for both camps will no doubt be incumbent president Emmanuel Macron, who is currently topping the polls at 24 per cent, while Republican candidate Valérie Pécresse will also likely be seen as a threat, being only one per cent behind Le Pen in the current polling.

Polls are set to open April 10.

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