Politics collide with May Day rallies ahead of French election

World Today

Protesters, police, and politics collided on the streets of Paris. Demonstrators in France used International Labor Day to send a message.  

Candidates are being reminded that jobs are a top concern for voters – less than a week before the presidential election.  

CGTN’s Kate Parkinson reports.

Politics collide with May Day rallies ahead of French election

Politics collided with rallies across France as workers used International Labor Day to send a message. Candidates are being reminded that jobs are a top concern for voters - less than a week before the presidential election.

International Workers’ Day took a distinctly political turn in France. Mass rallies took place in Paris to protest against far-right leader Marine Le Pen. Five big unions have urged their members not to vote for Le Pen, although the powerful ‘CGT’ has refused to explicitly back her rival Emmanuel Macron.

As protesters and police clashed in the city center, presidential candidate Marine Le Pen was basking in the support of her voters at a rally to the north of Paris. Le Pen launched a full-throttled attack on her opponent, painting presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron as a clone of the unpopular current President Francois Hollande.

Meanwhile, Macron was also trying to whip up support ahead of the May 7 vote. At a rally in Paris Macron blasted Le Pen’s vision for France as the “project of protectionism, isolationism, (and) nationalism.”

Macron is leading in the polls by 20 percentage points – victory seems likely.  But not everyone is a fan of his pro-business reforms, and while France’s unions are focused on blocking Le Pen for now, they may soon turn on him if he wins.