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French feminists march against far right with days before vote

AFP
Monday, Jun 24, 2024

PARIS: Thousands of people turned out in France on Sunday for feminist demonstrations against the far right, which is expected to come out on top in June 30 snap elections, as parties sought to shore up support with days to go.

With the far-right National Rally (RN) polling at around 35 percent, “we have to remind people that they´re the ones who talked about ´comfort abortions´, who are always attacking family planning services,” said Morgane Legras, a nuclear engineer and feminist activist taking part in the thousands-strong march in Paris.

Protesters wearing violet marched from the Place de la Republique square in central Paris to Place de la Nation in the east, bearing signs with messages such as “Push back the far right, not our rights”.

Other rallies took place in around 50 other cities such as Toulouse.

France´s two-round election system makes it difficult to predict which party could ultimately claim a majority in the lower house of parliament, handing them the prime minister´s post which is second in power to President Emmanuel Macron.

Since Macron dissolved parliament after a European Parliament election battering, his centrists are badly lagging the RN as well as a reforged left-wing alliance called the New Popular Front (NFP) in surveys of voting intentions.

The RN has garnered unprecedented levels of support after a decades-long “de-demonisation” push to distance its image from its roots, including a co-founder who was a member of the Nazi Waffen-SS paramilitary.