French anti riot police might have a difficult time on Sunday. EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON


France deploys 30,000 police officers during elections amid riot concerns


France will mobilise a massive police presence on election day amid fears of left-wing rioting.

A force of 30.000 officers will be deployed throughout the country, with 5,000 to be located in Paris alone, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced on July 5.

Darmanin said that he asked the Paris police prefect to ban an “anti-fascist” rally in front of the RN headquarters, at 8 p.m. on Sunday, adding that he anticipates excesses from the ultra-left.

The police prefect told France Inter that on the evening of the European elections, Paris had witnessed “demonstrations” followed by “unruly roaming groups that required forceful intervention to prevent damage, adding that “The demonstrations themselves did not result in public disorder”.

Darmanin expects “other possible excesses in certain cities that we know well, in Paris but also in Lyon, Rennes, Nantes, where there are hotbeds of the ultra-right or ultra-left”.

The French interior minister also commented on the growth of electoral violence during this year’s campaign season. Between last week Sunday, when the first round vote was held and Friday, some “51 candidates, substitutes or activists” had been “physically attacked”, leading to over thirty arrests.

Darmanin said France is on edge.

The first round also saw its share of violence. On June 20, for example, a group of people attacked a 70-year-old RN candidate, who suffered a stroke as a result of the brutal assault on June 20 and was taken to hospital.

Around the same period, a young activist of the campaign team of Thomas Mesnier, spokesman for Horizons, a centre-right party that is allied with President Emmanuel Macron, was attacked in Charente while putting up posters before the first round of the legislative elections.

He allegedly was called homophobic slurs and the assailants stole his phone. A doctor prescribed 20 days of medical leave.

According to a source close to the ongoing investigation, the attacker belongs to the “ultra-left”. “They reproached me for having damaged billboards in their camp, in the city,” the attacked activist told Charente Libre.

RN candidate and MEP Marie Dauchy was forced to suspend her campaign after an attack while handing out flyers at a market on Wednesday, July 3.

On Wednesday evening, government spokeswoman Prisca Thévenot and her team said they were attacked by a group of youths, leading to injuries, including a fractured jaw.