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In Villepinte, Zemmour wants to give strength to his candidacy

“Zemmour president”, chant the activists waving blue-white-red flags: Eric Zemmour gathered several thousand supporters on Sunday at the Villepinte Exhibition Center (Seine-Saint-Denis), for a first campaign meeting supposed to demonstrate the strength of his candidacy, however criticized, after heckling trips.

They were 13,000 to have gathered around their candidate, according to the organizers.

Coming from Picardy, Loménie, 28, who was spit on “by people from an immigrant background”, believes in Zemmour to fight against “the insecurity suffered by women”. His companion, nicknamed Bauduch, close to the “traditionalist and royalist” movement, shares his concerns.

“Impossible is not French”, expression attributed to Napoleon, and an olive branch – the meaning of the name Zemmour in Berber – are the slogan and the logo chosen by the former editorialist who must be expressed at the end afternoon.

At the entrance to the meeting, activists from the Action Française monarchist movement distribute their newspapers. “We meet on certain themes, including immigration, sovereignty,” said Brocard, a 24-year-old social worker.

Some 900 young people of the militant movement “Generation Z” are present, according to its president Stanislas Rigault who defended in the gallery a generation which “refuses the big replacement”, this conspiracy theory claimed by Eric Zemmour according to which the European population is replaced by immigrants non-Europeans.

– Journalists booed –

More than 400 journalists are accredited. Before the meeting started, a team from the show “Quotidien” was booed by the audience with cries of “and everyone hates + Daily +”, before being briefly sheltered, noted the AFP.

The polemicist modeled his calendar on the LR congress, who chose their champion Valérie Pécresse on Saturday, with a more moderate profile than his rival Eric Ciotti.

Like Marine Le Pen, his competitor on the far right, Mr. Zemmour invited the disappointed LR to join him, in an open letter in which he attests: “We are so close”.

Initially planned at the Zénith, in La Villette, in the north-east of Paris, the meeting was finally relocated to Villepinte, in the suburbs. Mr. Zemmour’s team explains it by “popular enthusiasm”, but also admits security reasons.

A dense security system has been deployed in Villepinte. Tensions erupted at midday between dozens of opponents to the arrival of Eric Zemmour and the police, in front of the RER station.

Forty-six people, who were in an area closed to demonstrations, were arrested, said the prefecture.

In Paris, some 2,200 demonstrators according to the prefecture, 10,000 according to the organizers, gathered in peace to denounce the candidacy and the speech in their eyes “racist” of Eric Zemmour, at the call of about fifty unions, parties and associations.

The PS president of the departmental council of Seine-Saint-Denis, Stéphane Troussel, had launched a petition to have the meeting canceled by the owners of the place, the Viparis group, by calling on his “diversity charter”.

– “The order” –

The meeting makes it possible to measure the rallies, while the organization is criticized internally for its fragility and more radical activists have integrated the campaign, such as the ex-megretist and close to the identities Grégoire Tingaud, responsible for coordinating the regional referents .

The financier Charles Gave withdrew his support and the sovereignist Philippe de Villiers was not present on Sunday.

But several personalities from the Manif pour tous, opposed to same-sex marriage, came: the former conservative deputy Jean-Frédéric Poisson, who will take care of the legislative elections, as well as Christine Boutin who before him chaired the small Christian Democratic Party ( became “VIA the voice of the people”).

At the microphone, Mr. Poisson congratulated himself on having with others “installed the stakes of civilization at the heart of the presidential campaign”.

Laurence Trochu, president of the Conservative Movement, associated until now with LR, denounced the “ideological decomposition of the right”, which “should have offered a real alternative to the progressivism of the left, cradle of Emmanuel Macron”.

Sovereignist Paul-Marie Coûteaux, former spokesperson for Marine Le Pen and friend of Eric Zemmour, booed the United States Embassy for its warning messages in front of the security risks of the meeting, as well as the ” feudalism “of journalists,” propaganda technicians “. He called on Eric Zemmour to become “the king of France”.

The figure of “yellow vests” Jacline Mouraud, on behalf of “ordinary people”, denounced “happy globalization, the Trojan horse of foreigners”.

Also present were Pierre-Jean Chalençon, collector of Napoleon’s objects, accused of having organized clandestine dinners during confinement, television host Eric Naulleau or even Karim Ouchikh, a close friend of the far-right writer Renaud Camus, promoter of the “great replacement” theory.

General Bertrand de la Chesnais, former head of the list for the RN in Carpentras (Vaucluse), who is already working on defense issues, could be appointed campaign manager.

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