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Christine Poupin laughing about 'cigarette butts' on LCP
Paris

Le Pen’s HQ hit by an arson attempt but LCP journalists deny attack

The campaign headquarters of the National Front party was hit by an arson attempt, local media reported Thursday.

Published: April 14, 2017, 8:54 am

    Leader of the party Marine Le Pen is the leading candidate for the 2017 presidential election, with the first round set for April 23, while the run-off vote is slated for May 7.

    Located in Paris on the upper floors of the building, the offices were not damaged, because visibly the “visitors” had not managed to access the building. But the act was signed by a tag referring to the National Front.

    The fire department intervened at 2:40 am to put out the fire at the insurance agency located on the ground floor of 262, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. The fire was “quickly controlled” a firefighter told Le Parisien.

    The source of the fire was “not natural, probably of criminal origin”, said a police source, indicating that a “FN vs KLX” inscription had been tagged nearby. A group claiming to be called “Fighting Xenophobia” contacted AFP to claim the arson attack, he said, using “Molotov cocktails”.

    Commenting on the attack, Le Pen told the state broadcaster, France2 that the attack was likely to have been carried out by “an extreme left wing group”.

    The president of the FN also regretted that state services had not informed the party. She said that “extreme left-wing groups have been busy [committing these acts] with impunity for months”.

    Le Pen told Le Figaro she was “astonished” to find out about the arson attempt via media, because state services had not “contacted us to inform us”.

    She said the police were doing their job “but justice had not received political instruction to be firm”. She singled out François Hollande’s general laxity towards such acts of violence against her voters. “I speak on behalf of all the victims of aggression,” she said.

    The FN’s security service said it has been calling for “static surveillance” in front of the building. “They [the police] refused,” a party source said, despite the fact that the FN has been designated as a “choice target” by Islamist groups.

    The FN’s vice-president, Florian Philippot: “The extreme left-wing violent groups are taking full advantage of their impunity by attacking a campaign headquarters, ie our democracy.”

    Philippot tweeted his surprise that a leftwing commentator Christine Poupin could laugh and make jokes about the arson attack during an interview on LCP. She said there had been no arson attempt, and that someone had left some “burning cigarette butt” lying around.

    FN HQ; Caroline Parmentier

    On the same programme, the journalist interviewing Poupin declared that there had been “no attack”. “A policeman came this morning” to check the premises, said Caroline Parmentier. “There was no arson attempt” but “we have the same tag” on another building facade.

    The group responsible also claimed to have carried out a similar attack on a pro-FN newspaper and said the action would continue until the election.

    On RTL, the Minister of the Interior, Matthias Fekl, hastily denounced such “unacceptable acts” because “the democratic debate will be translated at the ballot box, that is where everyone has to make a choice”.

    He added that they were in contact with the team of the candidate of the National Front, “to strengthen security arrangements ” after Le Pen said she would press for charges over the attack.

    The French elections are being watched with trepidation by the EU, because if the establishment lose in France, the Union is finished.

    In a recent poll by Ifop-Fiducial the National Front leader looks certain to enter the second round of the election with 23.5 percent of the votes and her chances of defeating establishment favourite Emmanuel Macron appear to be improving.

    The latest IFOP poll shows Le Pen gaining on the media favourite, with her scores the highest they have ever had her in such an election. Also Macron’s support seems to be vulnerable, with 33 percent of those who may vote for him, saying that they could change their mind.

    In contrast with Le Pen’s support base, some 87 percent of voters have committed themselves to voting for her no matter what.

    Another key finding is the voter base redistribution after the first round of the electoral contest. Conservative Francois Fillon’s supporters break almost evenly, with 34 percent backing Le Pen and 37 percent eventually voting for Macron.

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