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French prosecutors open probe into clashes at Zemmour campaign rally

Protesters march behind a banner reading 'Paris will block the far right,' during a demonstration against French presidential candidate Eric Zemmour, on December 5, 2021, in Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
Protesters march behind a banner reading 'Paris will block the far right,' during a demonstration against French presidential candidate Eric Zemmour, on December 5, 2021, in Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

French prosecutors open an investigation into violence that erupted at the first official campaign rally of a far-right candidate who has shaken up France’s presidential race.

The prosecutors’ office says police detained around 60 people after fists and chairs flew and anti-racism campaigners were left bloodied at Eric Zemmour’s rally with thousands of supporters north of Paris yesterday.

Campaign group SOS Racisme condemns savage beatings that targeted its activists at the rally, Zemmour’s first since the 63-year-old far-right author and former TV commentator with repeated convictions for hate speech officially launched his campaign last week for the presidential election in April.

The prosecutors’ office says it also is investigating a fracas that involved Zemmour himself.

Video images show a man surging out of the crowd with arms outstretched as the candidate walked through throngs at the rally. The man appeared to briefly lock arms around Zemmour’s neck before he was pulled off.

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