Anti-NATO protests hit France
Multiple mass protests against France’s NATO membership and its continued support of Kiev were held on Sunday in the capital Paris and at other locations across the country.
he demonstrations, taking place for the second consecutive weekend, were organized by the right-wing Les Patriotes party, led by Florian Philippot, who personally attended the rally in Paris.
The politician claimed the event on Sunday, dubbed National March for Peace, attracted even more participants than last week, when some 10,000 showed up for a rally in the French capital. According to Philippot, smaller-scale anti-NATO protests were held at some 30 other locations across France as well.
Nouvelle manifestation contre la subvention de la guerre en Ukraine 🇺🇦 et la sortie de la France 🇫🇷de l’OTAN. Les médias continuent de nous ignorer, mais la résistance monte en France👊👉Des milliers de personnes à Paris ce 26/02/23 @_LesPatriotes@f_philippot ! #1anpic.twitter.com/3XKhijHoRc— Tamila Tapayeva (@tamilatapayeva) February 26, 2023
Protesters marched through the streets of Paris, carrying a large banner reading "For Peace." The marchers called for the withdrawal of France from both the US-led NATO and from the EU, and urged a halt to supplying Ukraine with weaponry. The protesters also took jabs at the incumbent French President Emmanuel Macron, chanting "Macron get out!" – a slogan commonly used by assorted anti-government protesters throughout his presidency.
Following the march, the protesters held a rally led by Philippot, who was filmed defacing NATO and EU flags alongside his supporters. Footage of the event was shared by the politician himself on social media.
On a déchiré les drapeaux de l’UE et de l’OTAN aujourd’hui en #MarcheNationalePourLaPaix ! Le symbole de notre libération !➡️ Sortons de l’OTAN et l’UE, organisations de guerre !Vidéo ! ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/st3pOEKmj9— Florian Philippot (@f_philippot) February 26, 2023
The politician has been actively staging protests against French membership in NATO and the EU since last fall, while arguing against the supply of weapons to Ukraine. Between 2012 and 2017, Philippot was the deputy head of the biggest opposition party in France, the National Rally, led until last year by Marine Le Pen. After leaving the National Rally, the 41-year-old politician established his own right-wing party, Les Patriotes.
France has been among the top supporters of Kiev in the ongoing conflict with Russia, which broke out a year ago. While Macron has repeatedly called for a diplomatic settlement of the hostilities, Paris has actively supplied assorted weaponry to Ukraine, including armored vehicles and advanced self-propelled howitzers.