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Police use tear gas on protesters across France as hundreds of thousands gather to demonstrate against far-right resurgence after Macron’s election risk.



France witnessed widespread protests across the country as hundreds of thousands gathered to denounce the rise of the far-right in the upcoming elections, leading to clashes between demonstrators and police. Authorities deployed 21,000 police and paramilitary gendarmes to handle the rallies, expecting as many as half a million people to attend demonstrations nationwide. The protests were sparked by the recent strong performance of the anti-immigration National Rally (RN) party in the European Parliament elections, with students, labor unions, and rights groups coming together to resist this trend.

In the capital city of Paris, 75,000 people gathered at Place de La Republique to march through key historical landmarks, such as Bastille square and Place de la Nation, symbols of past revolts against tyrannical regimes. The CGT union claimed that a quarter of a million marched in Paris, while nationwide figures were estimated at 640,000 by the union, with police putting the number closer to 270,000. Demonstrators voiced their commitment to preserving a country founded on human rights, freedom, and tolerance, despite the growing influence of the far-right.

Incumbent President Emmanuel Macron announced snap legislative elections after his party’s disappointing results in the European elections. The National Rally, led by Jordan Bardella, was projected to win in the first opinion poll following Macron’s announcement, raising concerns about the possibility of the far-right coming to power. Protesters expressed their opposition to both the far-right and Macron’s centrist policies, urging for a united front against the rise of the right-wing in France.

The protesters, including a diverse range of activists, students, and union members, highlighted the importance of unity and solidarity in combating racism, Islamophobia, and far-right ideologies. Banners and chants called for liberty, equality, and fraternity for all citizens, emphasizing the need to break down barriers and promote inclusion and acceptance. Demonstrators expressed fears of potential discriminatory policies, such as bans on religious attire, and vowed to defend individual freedoms and rights against extremist agendas.

Despite the largely peaceful nature of the demonstrations, there were isolated incidents of violence and clashes with the police in some cities like Rennes and Nantes. Hooded protesters targeted street infrastructure and bank branches in Paris, leading to arrests and injuries. However, the vast majority of protesters remained committed to peaceful resistance and sending a strong message to political leaders about the importance of upholding democratic values and principles in the face of rising far-right threats.

As the country prepares for the legislative elections on June 30 and July 7, the political landscape remains uncertain, with the National Rally poised to make significant gains according to polls. While the prospect of the far-right gaining a majority in the parliament is daunting, Macron’s presidency would still continue, with control over key areas like defense and foreign policy. The growing mobilization against the far-right signals a deeper commitment to democratic values and social justice, as citizens come together to resist divisive ideologies and uphold the principles of equality and solidarity.

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