Wed, 19 Jan 2022

A man lunged at far-right presidential hopeful Eric Zemmour, grabbing him by the neck as Zemmour was about to kick off his first campaign event. The event was marred by scuffles between his supporters and anti-racist activists.

Zemmour was making his way to the stage of his inaugural campaign event in the Paris suburb of Villepinte on Sunday, when a man appears to have charged at him, briefly locking his arms behind the candidate's neck.

The incident was captured on video, and the clip has been making the rounds online.

Zemmour's security detail promptly apprehended the individual, handing him over to the police. The man was taken into custody on suspicion of "premeditated violence," the French TV channel BFM reported. The alleged attacker was known to the police over his involvement in "common-law offences," the channel said.

Seemingly unperturbed by the incident, Zemmour proceeded to the stage before the 12,000-strong crowd, despite his wrist reportedly having been injured in the melee.

At what was his first rally since declaring his presidential bid, the popular talk show host turned politician, known primarily for his anti-immigrant stance, also vowed to withdraw France from NATO. He also pledged to protect French businesses from American and Chinese corporations, raise workers' compensation, and remove the teaching of "inclusiveness" from the school curriculum.

At one point, the fired-up crowd broke into song, singing the French national anthem, 'La Marseillaise.'

The event was marred by violent clashes between Zemmour's supporters and anti-racism activists, however. About a dozen members of the SOS Racisme group showed up at the rally with a "No to Racism" banner, and later claimed they were attacked by Zemmour's supporters.

One clip shows an unknown man hitting a woman, apparently an SOS Racisme protester, at the beginning of the showdown.

One of the female activists still had a bloody face when she was interviewed by the French media after the campaign meeting.


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