Friday 20 October 2017

Le Pen cries out to Joan of Arc amid May Day march chaos

Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder and honorary president of the far-right party Front National, at the foot of a statue of Joan of Arc during the party’s annual May Day rally in Paris
Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder and honorary president of the far-right party Front National, at the foot of a statue of Joan of Arc during the party’s annual May Day rally in Paris

Elaine Ganley Paris

front National founder Jean-Marie Le Pen cried out to patron saint Joan of Arc for help at the party's annual May Day march yesterday, while bare-chested Femen activists used a bullhorn to drown out a speech by his daughter, president of the far-right party.

The chaotic May Day events coincided with turmoil within the anti-immigration Front National, putting on full display a family feud between party leader Marine Le Pen and her 86-year-old father, who is being pushed to the sidelines.

Jean-Marie Le Pen goes before a party disciplinary committee on Monday for reiterating anti-Semitic statements for which he's already been convicted.

His daughter, at the helm of the party since 2011, wants to clean up the Front National's image ahead of France's 2017 presidential election.

For the first time, the elder Le Pen, who helped found the party in 1972, did not march at the side of his daughter or have a place on stage during her speech in front of the Paris Opera. Marine Le Pen was instead surrounded by recently-elected local party officials.

But Jean-Marie Le Pen made sure he was not left out, despite a well-scripted scenario that kept father and daughter apart.

Dressed in a bright red jacket, Le Pen cried out "Help, Joan of Arc!" while laying a wreath at the foot of the gilded statue of the saint. He later mounted the stage at the start of his daughter's speech, raising clenched fists as if in victory before withdrawing.

Irish Independent

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