A man carries a sign that compares the Rassemblement National, or National Rally party with Nazism during a march against the electoral rise of the far-right National Rally party on June 15, 2024 in Paris, France. (Photo by Remon Haazen/Getty Images)


France: 70-year-old RN candidate suffers stroke after street attack


A group of dark-clad individuals attacked 70-year-old National Rally (RN) candidate Hervé Breuil as he was handing out election flyers in the French city of Saint-Étienne.

Breuil suffered a stroke as a result of the brutal assault on June 20 and was taken to hospital, an official of the party’s local federation told French newspaper Le Parisien. 

According to the Saint-Étienne prosecutor’s office, an investigation for “group violence” has been opened.

A young RN activist present with associates who witnessed the attack told news outlet Francebleu it was “a co-ordinated assault” and the culprits had been scouting out the area beforehand.

The unnamed activist said that when they were leaving, around 11:30am, they were confronted by four masked individuals, all dressed in black, coming towards them and then pushing and threatening them.

There were five RN activists at the time, “including four elderly people” the young man said, adding that he recognised certain people, whom he claimed were “close to LFI [La France Insoumise], to revolutionary Communist organisations”.

RN reportedly suspended leaflet operations in the constituency due to the presence of “aggressive left-wing radicals”.

Michel Lucas, the RN departmental delegate in the Loire who was not present at the time of the events, said Breuil, who carries a pacemaker, suffered a “mini stroke” caused by the attack.

Three complaints have been filed regarding the incident, Lucas said, noting that one of the RN activists recorded videos of the attack and sent them to the police.

Breuil was a candidate in his constituency for the legislative elections in 2022. He won 15 per cent of the vote in the first round.

Marine Le Pen, de facto leader of the hard-right RN, blamed the attack on the New Popular Front, accusing the alliance of such on social media.

“Cowardly attack by the ultra-left militias, supporters of the New Popular Front, Hervé Breuil, our candidate in Saint-Etienne, is still hospitalised this evening,” she wrote.

“An electoral campaign in a democracy cannot allow this unleashing of ultra-violence from an extreme-left ready to do anything to sow chaos. We send him our friendly support and [wish him] a speedy recovery.

“All my affection goes to Hervé Breuil and the friends of the Loire. You are the pride of this country,” RN spokeswoman Laure Lavalette said on X on the evening of June 20. “Our commitment will not waver in the face of violence. Stand firm, stand firm,” Le Pen added.

Also on X, Andrée Taurinya, the outgoing LFI MP for the constituency, who is running under the New Popular Front barrier, wrote: “At La France Insoumise, we ban physical violence in politics. We will never attack a candidate.”