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French protests will follow student opposition to Le Pen and Macron’s run-off

Demonstrations will take place across France on Saturday in the wake of university protests that saw anger expressed over the presidential choice of incumbent President Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

Police have warned that there could be incidents in the protests against the far right which are planned in around 30 cities across the country. Anti-Macron protesters will also gather in the French capital.

The actions follow a week of protests expressing their dissatisfaction with the result of the first round of the April 10 elections in which no left-wing candidate made the second round.

Le Pen, who leads the National Rally, won 23.1% of the vote, just behind Macron’s 27.85%, Reuters reported.

Students demonstrate against the last two candidates for the French presidential election – the incumbent Emmanuel Macron and the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen – at the Sorbonne University, on April 14, 2022, in Paris, France. Students barricaded themselves inside the Sorbonne campus during the protest.
Sam Tarling/Getty Images

But on Wednesday, students who dislike either candidate began occupying the Sorbonne University campus in Paris, which has been the scene of numerous French student revolts over the years, including the May 1968 uprising. .

The students ended their occupation of the campus after 30 hours before police stormed the building, but not before law enforcement fired tear gas outside.

Demonstrations also took place at the University of Paris 8 and the capital’s École Normale Supérieure, as well as at the Nancy campus of the political science institute Sciences Po, where protesters blocked the main entrance with trash cans.

The Associated Press reported that among the protesters were many voters who voted for far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who finished one percentage point behind Le Pen in the first round of the presidential election on Sunday. last but did not make the second round.

Mélenchon voters will be crucial in the second round against Macron, who at the start of the week had only slightly edged Le Pen in the polls.

Left-leaning voters see Le Pen, who leads the National Rally party, as a threat with his promises to cut immigration. Macron has faced criticism that he has drifted too far to the right.

There is also left discontent with Macron with many citing police brutality against Yellow Vest protesters and measures on what Macron calls “Islamist separatism”.

“We now have a second round with only two right-wing candidates who are the enemies of workers and youth, and we cannot accept that,” Gabriel Vergnes, a student at Sciences-Po, told AP.

Meanwhile, Sorbonne philosophy student Anaïs Jacquemars told Reuters. “Neither Macron nor Le Pen.

“We are tired of always having to vote for the less bad of the two, and that is what explains this revolt.”

Many students said they would rather not vote than support Macron simply as a way to prevent Le Pen from taking power.

This contrasts with the second round of the 2002 elections in which Marine Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the far-right National Front, faced off against then-incumbent Jacques Chirac. The latter had won with 82% of the votes. The prospect of not joining the dominant candidate in the second round on April 24 worries Macron’s camp.

However, the incumbent will be backed by the results of an IPSOS-Sopra-Steria poll on Friday which showed Marcon winning the second round with 56% of the vote.


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