The opponents of the National Front, Europe’s biggest right wing party, have taken to the streets with one claim: ‘NO’ to xenophobia and Muslim racism (even though Islam is not a race?)
PressTV – When Jean-Marie Le Pen was the head of the National Front party, it rarely managed to get the support of the public. But things changed in January when his daughter Marine Le Pen took over the party’s leadership. Since then, she has won almost every opinion poll, beating President Sarkozy, former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, and the left party candidates.
Rallies were held across France to protest what many say is the continued scapegoating of Muslims and immigrants for political gain. In Paris, thousands marched under many different banners, but they all spoke of feeling excluded from French society.
Since his appointment in February, French Foreign Minister Alain Jupp has been the point man in the Sarkozy administration’s desire to keep their national identity campaign in the media. Recent decisions such as the burqa law, debates on the role of Islam in France and the deportation of Tunisian immigrants have been condemned by many as purposely divisive.
With unemployment and social insecurity still high as France tries to exit the Great Recession, the message here is that foreigners will not tolerate being used as a distraction.
Many protesters here say that the conservative wing of the nation’s establishment simply refuses to accept that Africans and Arabs are already a part of 21st century France. To quote a popular slogan here at the demonstration: Besides, we’re already here! (Not for long, hopefully)