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Demonstrations against far-right parties in France

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Tens of thousands of people demonstrated against far-right parties in France on Saturday.

In Paris and other major cities and towns, people responded to calls from trade unions and other organizations to protest against Marine Le Pen’s right-wing National Rally (RN) party, which could potentially come to power in the snap parliamentary elections coming up at the end of this month.

Around 300,000 participants were expected at around 200 protest rallies. The police deployed more than 20,000 officers.

There were confrontations between demonstrators and the police on the fringes of several protest marches and there was damage done to property, according to media reports. Demonstrations are also planned for Sunday.

“Either it’s the far right or it’s us,” said Mathilde Panot, leader of the French Left Party parliamentary group, at the head of the Paris demonstration with a view to the parliamentary elections.

Like Panot, numerous other leading politicians from the left-wing parties, who had presented a left-wing alliance for the election on Friday, joined the demonstration in the capital.

President Emmanuel Macron had unexpectedly dissolved the National Assembly last Sunday in response to the defeat of his liberal forces in the European elections and the resounding victory of the right-wing nationalists and announced snap elections for June 30 and July 7.

The strong performance of the National Rally in the European elections cannot automatically be transferred to the parliamentary elections, as France has a majority voting system. The member of parliament from a constituency who receives the most votes in the second round of the run-off election is elected to parliament.

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