Ajaccio, Corsica. Fighting broke out on Saturday ahead of a campaign rally by French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, prompting the removal of more than a dozen protesters and the evacuation of a meeting hall.
The current polls ahead of the first round elections, of the two-round presidential election show Le Pen leader of the populist National Front running neck andneck with Emmanuel Macron, who is expected to lose to her in the runoff.
Polling in France also show that right behind them, far-left veteran Jean-Luc Melenchon has risen in opinion polls after his performance in a televised debate early this week, running even with conservative candidate Francois Fillon, whose presidential bid has been tainted by corruption charges.
Around 50 Corsican radicals demonstrated in front of the venue in Ajaccio where Le Pen was holding her rally, chanting “We do not want the National Front”, according to local newspaper Corse Matin.
Some of them managed to enter the hall where Le Pen was expected to speak. They clashed with Le Pen’s security team, throwing punches and firing teargas, prompting the evacuation of the hall, the newspaper said.
The violence was ended as the event was moved to another hall and continued without further incident.