Protest mars Corsica rally for French far-right leader Le Pen

PASCAL POCHARD-CASABIANCA / AFP | People hold a banner which translates as "Collective against fascism" during a demonstration against a meeting of the French far-right Front National (FN) party candidate for the presidential election on April 8, 2017.

Skirmishes broke out on Saturday ahead of a campaign rally by French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, prompting the removal of more than a dozen protesters and the evacuation of the hall in Ajaccio, Corsica.


Latest polls ahead of the April-May French presidential election show the race tightening, with Le Pen -- leader of the anti-immigrant National Front -- neck-and-neck with centrist Emmanuel Macron, who is expected to beat her in the runoff.

Around 50 people demonstrated in front of the venue in Ajaccio, chanting "We do not want the National Front", according to local newspaper Corse Matin.

Some of them managed to enter the hall where Le Pen was expected to speak. They clashed with Le Pen's security team and fired teargas, prompting the evacuation of the hall, the newspaper said.

The event was moved to another venue, French television BFM TV said.

Le Pen's campaign manager David Rachline said on Twitter that local authorities had not done enough to secure the venue and had allowed far-left "militia" to come too close.

Rachline said a National Front activist was seriously injured during the clashes.


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