Protesters March Against Le Pen

The protest march headed from suburban Aubervilliers  to Paris on April 16.The protest march headed from suburban Aubervilliers  to Paris on April 16.

Several hundred protesters marched in northern Paris on Sunday to protest against far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen, saying basic freedoms would disappear if she were elected to the French presidency.

With just a week to go before the first round of France’s presidential election, the demonstrators marched from the multi-ethnic northern suburb of Aubervilliers to a Paris neighborhood where Le Pen is scheduled to hold a rally on Monday, France24 reported.

A group of protesters threw firebombs at police who responded with tear gas during small skirmishes.

A banner at the front of the march read “Paris Suburbs Against the National Front”. Marchers handed out tracts denouncing the xenophobia and racism they associate with Le Pen and the party co-founded by her father.

Le Pen, who wants to pull France out of the European Union, is one of the top contenders in France’s first-round presidential vote on April 23.

She is widely tipped to qualify for a second-round runoff, which will be held on May 7 between the top two candidates.

The far-right leader has been at pains to erase the image of racism and anti-Semitism that for years defined the FN, while sticking to the party’s core anti-immigrant rhetoric.

She wants to restore a French identity that she claims is being threatened by “massive immigration”, mainly from former French colonies in Muslim North Africa.

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