Top French Socialist attacked by far-right thugs

AFP , Wednesday 29 Feb 2012

A top figure in France's Socialist party and his journalist partner were attacked by a crowd shouting anti-Jewish slogans and chanting support for the far-right National Front

Arnaud Montebourg and Audrey Pulvar, a prominent broadcaster, said a group of about 15 men surrounded them on Wednesday as they left a restaurant late Monday and shouted "Le Pen for president", referring to far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

They also shouted "France for the French" and "Juden, Juden, Juden" (which means Jews in German) before throwing glasses at the couple as they left the restaurant in Paris' chic 16th district, Pulvar said in Twitter messages.

The incident came just days after Pulvar gave Le Pen a grilling in a weekend television show about her alleged association with European far-right parties and neo-Nazi groups. "This shows that there is a climate within Mrs Le Pen's (National Front) where racist speech is made freely," Pulvar told AFP.

Le Pen, who opinion polls put in third place in the presidential vote in April and May, said "obviously I condemn this type of aggression." But she added: "You cannot consider, before the police have done their work, that these people are people from the National Front."

An opinion poll published Tuesday by IFOP said the Socialist candidate for the presidency, Francois Hollande, would take 28.5 per cent of the vote in the first round, against 27 per cent for President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Le Pen would come in third place in the first round with 17 per cent, the poll said.
France will vote in the first round of the presidential election on 22 April, followed by a second-round run-off on 6 May.

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