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Marine Le Pen, RN

Macron administration blames Le Pen for Yellow Vest violence

The Macron administration is trying to blame Marine Le Pen for violence during the Yellow Vest protest in Paris, as President Macron's popularity continues to slide.

Published: November 25, 2018, 8:13 am

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    Le Pen, leader of the National Rally in France says she had “never called for any violence”, after clashes in Paris between police and Yellow Vest protesters. The protests have continued as a broad opposition front to unpopular President Emmanuel Macron.

    She ridiculed Interior Minister Christophe Castaner’s accusation that she had called protesters onto the Champs-Elysées. “I asked the government why it did not allow the Yellow Vests to demonstrate on the Champs-Elysees. Today Castaner uses this question to target me.

    “It is petty and dishonest,” Le Pen tweeted after Castaner said participants in the violence had “responded to the call of Marine Le Pen”.

    Internal police intelligence memos leaked before the protest pointed to the presence of extreme-left militants among the protesters, AFP reported.

    The Interior Ministry had granted permission for the Yellow Vests, or gilets jaunes to gather on the Champ de Mars, at the Eiffel Tower on Saturday, but had banned protests in other areas, including the Champs-Elysées and the Place de la Concorde.

    Le Pen denied that she was responsible for some 8 000 Yellow Vests on the avenue resulting in police firing tear gas as demonstrators who had set vehicles on fire and threw projectiles, vandalising the area. Le Pen told the LCI television channel. “I have obviously never called for any violence whatsoever.

    “Since the start of this movement, we have the feeling that the government whips up the tension, and if that is what the government wants, that’s what it gets,” she explained. She said the Macron administration was trying to make a scapegoat of her for the growing discontent over fuel tax hikes.

    Le Pen rejected Castaner’s accusation as “outrageous. He behaves lake a small-town politician who wants to take advantage of what is happening”.

    She explained that only allowing the Yellow Vests to demonstrate in the Champ-de-Mars, “which is a gigantic place”, was a “huge manipulation to minimize the movement”.

    In the southern town of Limoux, a vineyard property belonging to an MP for President Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche party (REM) was overrun by around forty Yellow Vests on Friday night.

    Two people have died and more than 750 people, including 136 police officers, were injured during the week of demonstrations.

    Macron seemed relieved as he condemned the violence by protesters on the Champs-Elysees, which he suggested had delegitimized the uprising. In a strongly worded tweet, he said: “Shame on those who attacked (police). Shame on those who were violent against other citizens … No place for this violence in the Republic.”

    Le Pen’s party has overtaken Macron’s REM in the latest poll of voting intentions ahead of the 2019 European Elections.

    The poll, taken out by the Institut français d’opinion publique (IFOP), was published last week showing that Macron’s party had fallen to 19 percent, while Marine Le Pen’s RN — formerly the National Front — rose to 21 percent.

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