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College founded by Le Pen family scion targeted by vandals

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Lyon (AFP)

The political science college founded by France's Marion Marechal, a scion of the Le Pen dynasty who has been tipped as a future leader of the far right, was vandalised on Tuesday night, the school said.

The facade of the Institute for Social, Economic and Political Science in the city of Lyon was splashed with black paint, windows had been smashed and there were signs of an attempted break-in, an AFP photographer noted on Wednesday.

In a statement, the college blamed the "far left".

Marechal, a 29-year-old former MP, in a tweet blamed the "enemies of knowledge" and said the vandals had attacked freedom of education.

An anti-fascism group on Wednesday circulated an anonymous statement claiming responsibility for the attack on Facebook.

The statement said the attack was in response to "all racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic acts" as well as the "deadly anti-migration policies and the recent Christchurch attack" on two mosques in New Zealand.

Marechal is the granddaughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of the anti-migrant National Front party (now known as the National Rally), and the niece of its current leader Marine Le Pen.

A popular figure on the hard right and far right, she stepped back from politics in 2017 after serving a single term in parliament.

Some observers expect her to make a return to politics in the future, possibly to succeed her aunt at the head of a right-wing alliance.

A widely publicised appearance at a major conservative political conference in Washington last year fed speculation about her intentions.

Marechal stopped referring to herself as Marechal-Le Pen last year in an apparent bid to distance herself from the tainted Le Pen brand.

Her privately-owned college, which promotes conservative teaching on subjects including "cultural identity", began taking in students in September 2018.

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