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Dueling May Day rallies show a France divided

© BERTRAND LANGLOIS | AFP Protesters wear masks of French presidential candidates Emmanuel Macron (L) and Marine Le Pen depicted as the Grim Reaper at a May Day workers' rally in Marseille, France, on May 1, 2017

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2017-05-01

As France took to the streets in May Day rallies Monday, the upcoming presidential duel between centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen stole the spotlight, underscoring today's great divides in French society.

  • Centrist frontrunner Emmanuel Macron held a rally at a convention centre near La Villette science park in northeastern Paris. Earlier Monday he paid a tribute to a Moroccan man killed on the sidelines of a 1995 National Front May Day rally in a bid to remind voters of the far-right party’s dark past.
  • Macron called on leftist voters to help him block his far-right rival even though they may not agree with his programme.
  • Marine Le Pen accused Macron of being a slave to the global financial system at a rally in the northern Parisian suburb of Villepinte.
  • Rival trade unions held rallies in Paris and across the country. Most were calling for a “Republican Vote” to block Le Pen, but they differed on their strategies to achieve their goals.
  • Local media reported that six police officers were injured after clashes with protesters earlier in the day, and that five people were arrested.
  • According to an interior minister spokesman, some 142,000 people demonstrated across France on Monday.

    To follow Monday’s events as they happened, please read our blog posts below.  

Date created : 2017-05-01

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