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Threats and hoaxes cast a shadow over the electoral campaign in France

Eric Zemmour has disassociated himself from some threatening acts that they attribute to his militancy and that he attributes to “miserable idiots”. / EFE

Extremist militants knock on the doors of the candidates’ houses or insult them on the networks while fears of a “trumpization” of French politics grows

BEATRIZ JUDGE Correspondent. Paris

Less than four months before the presidential elections in France, the climate of the electoral campaign has been spoiled by insults and threats against several French politicians and by the dissemination on social networks of a hoax against the ‘first lady’, Brigitte Macron. To this should be added the scenes of violence in the first meeting of the far-right candidate Éric Zemmour.

The far-right candidate Marine Le Pen filed a complaint on Christmas Eve after someone wrote in front of her home in Celle Saint-Cloud (northern France) insults against her and a message of support for Zemmour (Z 2022). Other left-wing politicians, such as environmental deputy Sandrine Rousseau and Adrien Quatennens, deputy of La Francia Insumisa (the equivalent of Podemos in France), have also received visits from extremist sympathizers in recent days.

“Tonight Zemmour militants banged on my door and posted flyers. A further step has been taken in the denial of democracy. These intimidations increase my energy to deliver ecologist, social, feminist and anti-racist speeches, “Rousseau wrote on Twitter a few days ago. Several strangers rang the bell and pasted stickers with Zemmour’s face on the door of his home in Lille.

The former candidate for the environmental primaries explained that for months she has received threats and insults by mail and on social networks. And he denounced the silence of the president, Emmanuel Macron, on the threats against several left-wing politicians. Some strangers also covered the parliamentary seat in Lille de Quatennens with stickers with Zemmour’s photo. “Every day, a little more. Stop ”, wrote the leftist deputy on Twitter.

Zemmour condemned on November 22 the videos of far-right militants published on social networks in which alleged supporters of his simulated shooting with a carbine at Macron and two politicians from La Francia Insumisa, Alexis Corbière and Raquel Garrido. “You are not part of my supporters or my militants and even less of my friends,” Zemmour wrote in a statement. “I do not want your support or your help,” added the candidate, who considered that the protagonists of the videos were “a miserable bunch of idiots” making “a regrettable show.”

“The extreme right is already unbridled and generalizes the violent intimidation of its opponents,” condemned the parliamentary group La Francia Insoumise, who denounced “the lack of reaction of the political authorities in the face of this hatred and this violence.”

Brigitte Macron, wife of President Emmanuel Macron, has also filed a complaint after being the victim of false news on social media. On Twitter, messages with the hashtag #JeanMichelTrogneux have spread the hoax that the French first lady is actually a trans woman, who before changing sex was named Jean Michel Trogneux and that she is not the mother of her children. Trogneux is her maiden name.

The slap

The newspaper ‘Le Monde’ assures that there is a fear of the “trumpización” of the political debate in France. And he considers that the rumor about Brigitte Macron raises fears that the next presidential elections could be plagued with “shameful conspiracy theories”. It is also worth remembering the slap that the president received from a citizen in June when he was walking through a southern town to inquire about the situation of the population due to the coronavirus. Macron later called for “respect” to “protect democracy”, already in the early pre-electoral stages tinged with political tension and pressure on the streets from ultra-radical movements.

In addition to threats, hoaxes and insults on social networks, there have also been doses of violence in the electoral campaign. During Zemmour’s first rally, supporters of the far-right candidate insulted and beat members of the anti-racist NGO SOS Racisme, who shouted “no to racism” at the rally. Several members of this association were injured. Some of the attackers were members of the neo-Nazi group Zouaves Paris, which the French government wants to dissolve.

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