Leaders forced out of march
31 March, 2018, 12:00 am
PARIS – Leaders of the far-right National Front and hard-left France Unbowed movement met booes on Wednesday when they joined a march in honour of a Holocaust survivor killed in a suspected anti-Semitic attack and were eventually forced to leave it.
The National Front’s Marine Le Pen and France Unbowed’s Jean-Luc Melenchon had defied a prominent Jewish group’s wishes by taking part in the march to honour Mireille Knoll.
The 85-year-old was found dead with 11 stab wounds at her apartment in a working-class district of Paris on Friday. The apartment was set ablaze after the attack and her body badly burnt. Police suspect that Knoll’s Jewish religion was a motive for the killing.
Mr Le Pen and Mr Melenchon joined the march but they met a hostile reception from participants and when tensions threatened to boil over they pulled out. Le Pen later managed to rejoin the demonstration.
Ms Knoll was buried on Wednesday in Bagneux on the southern outskirts of Paris ahead of the march organised by Crif, an umbrella body of French Jewish groups. Crif’s leader told far-right and far-left groups not to attend the rally.
“Anti-Semites are over-represented in the far left and the far right, making those parties ones that you don’t want to be associated with,” Crif director Francis Kalifat told RTL radio. “Therefore they are not welcome.”