Two topless Femen activists on Thursday temporarily disrupted the far-right National Front’s (FN) annual May 1 march in Paris as the party tries to drum up support ahead of the European parliamentary elections.
The women, one of whom had the slogan “fascist epidemic” painted on her bare chest while another cried “down with the fascist union”, turned up at the head of the rally, captained by National Front leader Marine le Pen and her father Jean-Marie, as it was about to set off from the Palais Royal palace in central Paris.
"We will not allow Europe to become a Fascist union. Stop the epidemic," the feminist group tweeted from its French account.
The rally, which was due to start at 10.30 sharp, was briefly delayed as police took the two activists away.
The rally then continued, with Marine Le Pen, who on Tuesday dismissed Femen as a "hysterical leftist cult", laying a wreath at the statue of Joan of Arc – the party's patron saint – before addressing a crowd gathered outside the Paris Opera where she condemned both the euro and the European Union.
Nationalist ideas are making inroads among European voters disillusioned by Europe’s economic woes, and could influence May 22-25 voting for a new European Parliament.
Le Pen wants to capitalise on recent victories in municipal elections that gave her party control of 11 towns and has urged followers to vote also in the European elections.
Police put the turnout at roughly 5,000.
“A lot of people are here with us today. It demonstrates our force, and also our pugnacity,” Le Pen told reporters.
“The nation is confronted by the European Union's noxious actions on all fronts. We need to recover our freedom and sovereignty, and ensure the prosperity and security of our people and our country.”
“We're here to remind the French people that they have to act on May 25th,” she said.
(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)
Date created : 2014-05-01