French presidential candidate let down by his own base
Eric Zemmour, a far-right candidate in the 2022 French presidential election, took flak after his alleged supporters threatened and harassed several of his political opponents.
Police in the Yvelines region, outside Paris, opened an investigation on Friday after insults and ‘Z 2022’ were written on the windshields of several cars parked next to a home of Marine Le Pen, an MP and the former leader of the right-wing National Rally party. The ‘Z 2022’ is widely seen as a message in support of far-right presidential contender Eric Zemmour. Le Pen filed a police complaint, French media reported, quoting sources close to the politician.
The incident came after Sandrine Rousseau, a member of the Europe Ecology – The Greens (EELV), said on Wednesday that “Zemmour’s militants” tried to enter her home and vandalized the building. She claimed that stickers of Zemmour’s Reconquete (Reconquest) party were attached to her front door and garbage bags were placed outside her house, according to a police complaint, cited by AFP.
Rousseau appealed to President Emmanuel Macron to condemn Zemmour’s supporters. “The silence to the threats from the extreme right against left-wing politicians contributes to the trivialization of a climate of violence and weakens our democracy,” she tweeted.
Also this week, two apparent Zemmour sympathizers filmed themselves firing sniper rifles and threatening Macron. One man in the video mentioned shooting “antifa members and leftists” and migrants from North Africa, as well as training to “hunt down” Alexis Corbiere and Raquel Garrido, politicians from the left-wing La France Insoumise (LFI) party. The party’s parliamentary group released a statement blasting the videos “as unacceptable as they are odious.”
A prosecutor in Paris announced that a criminal investigation had been launched into the “death threats and incitement of racial hatred.”
Zemmour, an essayist and political commentator known for divisive anti-migrant and anti-Islam rhetoric, distanced himself from “the idiots who pretend to take advantage of me and my candidacy in order to shoot rifles” at political opponents.
“They support me with the sole purpose of providing new alibis for their destructive passion,” he said in a statement on Wednesday. “You are not part of my supporters, nor of my militants. I condemn in advance all that you do in my name.”