French Political Leader Pelted With Flour During Protest

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a far-left political chief in France and a probable high-profile candidate in subsequent yr’s presidential election, was pelted with flour at a protest on Saturday, days after President Emmanuel Macron was slapped within the face as he sought to shake arms with voters.

It will not be unusual for French political figures to be pelted with meals: former presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande have been showered with flour, and Mr. Macron was pelted with eggs no less than twice earlier than he was elected president in 2017.

But the assault that focused Mr. Mélenchon, the chief of the far-left occasion France Unbowed, in Paris got here in opposition to the backdrop of renewed political tensions in France earlier than regional elections subsequent week, and broader issues about violence earlier than the presidential election, scheduled for May.

Mr. Mélenchon was talking with journalists at an indication in opposition to the far-right in Paris on Saturday when a person threw flour at him. No one was taken into custody.

On Tuesday, a far-right sympathizer slapped Mr. Macron in the face because the French chief was greeting a small crowd throughout a go to to southeastern France, drawing widespread condemnation throughout the political spectrum.

Mr. Macron acquired help from, amongst others, Mr. Mélenchon, usually one among Mr. Macron’s fiercest critics, and the far-right chief Marine Le Pen. “One can fight him politically, but one cannot be violent in any way against him,” Ms. Le Pen mentioned.

A court docket on Thursday sentenced the 28-year-old man who slapped Mr. Macron, Damien Tarel, who mentioned that Mr. Macron “represents the decline of our country,” to 18 months in jail, though he’ll doubtless serve solely 4.

On Friday, a former minister of Mr. Macron’s authorities and a candidate to the regional elections was additionally pelted with flour within the western metropolis of Nantes. The candidate, François de Rugy, mentioned he had filed a lawsuit in opposition to the girl who had assaulted him.

“Debate, always. Physical assaults, never,” Mr. de Rugy mentioned on Twitter.

Although Mr. Mélenchon was the goal on Saturday, he’s amongst a gaggle of politicians who’ve been blamed for the rising political tensions. Mr. Mélenchon drew widespread criticism this week after he predicted that France could be attacked in the course of the marketing campaign, however he didn’t present any particular particulars, prompting ministers of Mr. Macron’s authorities to accuse him of fueling conspiracy theories.

“You’ll see, in the last weeks of the presidential campaign, we’ll have a serious incident or a murder,” Mr. Mélenchon mentioned on French public tv.

Mr. Mélenchon argued {that a} video during which a far-right YouTube persona fired at a model representing a left-wing voter had prompted his feedback. The video has since been deleted and Mr. Mélenchon has filed a lawsuit in opposition to the YouTuber, Ugo Gil Jimenez.

After the abuse on Saturday, a spokesman for Mr. Mélenchon’s occasion, David Guiraud, mentioned on Twitter that the flour throwing was carried out by a person who he mentioned was one other far-right YouTube persona, however he didn’t establish him by identify.

Mr. Mélenchon obtained almost a fifth of the votes in the course of the earlier presidential election in 2017, rating fourth after Mr. Macron, Ms. Marine Le Pen, and the right-wing candidate François Fillon.

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