French prosecutors said Monday they would investigate violent incidents at a campaign rally by far-right pundit Eric Zemmour who himself was assaulted as he attempted to take the stage.
Fighting also broke out shortly after Zemmour began speaking Sunday night at a venue outside Paris, as supporters tackled protesters who stood up wearing T-shirts saying “No to Racism.”
Several people were detained by police during the rally, including a man who grabbed Zemmour violently and injured his wrist, according to his campaign team.
Security guards were able to remove the protesters and restore calm after around 10 minutes.
A crew from the popular and sharp-tongued nightly TV news show “Quotidien” was also booed and briefly removed by security, with hostility to the media a theme of Zemmour’s and other speeches at the event.
Authorities had been on high alert ahead of the meeting that marked Zemmour’s official campaign launch after far-left activists and anarchists disrupted a trip by Zemmour to Marseille in late November.
Riot police had massed outside the arena in the Paris suburb of Villepinte and searched people’s bags as they arrived.
In Paris, a few hundred people marched to protest against his candidacy they denounced as racist and divisive.
Zemmour, a Jewish writer and political commentator, has upended the French presidential race by making an independent run in competition with the veteran far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
He accuses the French political establishment, including centrist President Emmanuel Macron, of failing to control immigration that he claims has contributed to France’s decline.