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French far right rallies around Joan of Arc

Some 200 members of France’s main far-right party rallied around a statue of Joan of Arc to celebrate the medieval martyr's 600th birthday on Saturday, with National Front leaders hinting that President Nicolas Sarkozy’s tribute had been insincere.

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AP - The father and daughter behind France’s main far-right party have taken aim at conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy for what they called his insincere tribute to Joan of Arc.

The nationalist National Front party of Jean-Marie and Marine Le Pen has in recent years rallied around the medieval French heroine and Catholic martyr who was burned at the stake by the English in 1431.

At a rally Saturday that drew a crowd of about 200 near a gilded Joan of Arc statue in Paris, Marine Le Pen said she welcomed Sarkozy’s speech honoring Joan a day earlier - but hinted that he was being insincere.

France is celebrating the 600th anniversary of Joan’s birth in eastern France on Jan. 6, 1412 - and she has been drawn into the race for the French presidency that culminates in elections this spring.

 

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