More than 35,000 people flooded the streets of France on Saturday to protest
the weekend presence of France's burgeoning far-right National Front party.
Squads of security police backed by riot vehicles kept the largely peaceful
marchers from getting closer than seven blocks from the convention hall, where
2,200 members of the National Front assembled to prepare for next spring's
legislative elections. Above the marchers heads bobbed signs reading, "Racism
is a national affront" and other anti-facist, anti-racist, and anti-Nazi
The National Front and its president, Jean-Marie LePen, are notorious in much
of France for their statements about race and immigration. LePen, known for
his racist sentiments, has openly called for the deportation of immigrants to
create jobs for "real" French people.
According to polls, 15 percent of the French electorate support the party.
The march united French Socialist politicians, labor leaders, left-wing
intellectuals, radical activists, street performers and other citizens angered
by the resurgence of intolerance.
: CNN Online,
This item appeared in the News section of the April 4, 1997 issue.