Anti-fascists react to Le Pen election advance with London protest.
1. Unite Against Fascism is a broad-based coalition supported by major trade unions and faith groups. It played a key role in reversing the rise of the BNP and EDL and works with anti-fascist groups across Europe to combat the growth of the far-right.
2. The protest outside the French Embassy: “Stop Le Pen! No to the return of fascism in Europe.” will take place from 6-7.30pm on Monday 24th April.
3. The rally in Conway Hall on 2nd May will be addressed by speakers including Claude Moraes MEP, Collette Levy – Hidden child from Vichy France, Azad Ali from MEND, Journalist Yasser Louati and French anti fascist activist Denis Godard.
Anti-fascists have reacted with alarm to the news that Marine Le Pen, leader of the fascist Front National (FN) is set to go through to the second round of the Presidential elections.
Campaign group Unite Against Fascism (UAF) is organising a protest at the French Embassy from 6pm on Monday April 24 (facebook event here), and a London rally at Conway Hall on May 2nd at 7pm (facebook event here)
Le Pen recently denied the role of the wartime Vichy puppet government in rounding up Jews for the Nazis. She claimed that the infamous Vald’Hiv affair, where Jews were corralled before being sent to death camps, was not France’s responsibility. Jewish groups described this claim as an ‘insult to France’. Her father and founder of the FN, Jean Marie Le Pen was notorious for downplaying the Holocaust, describing it as a “mere detail of history”.
Le Pen has frequently attacked Muslims, at one time comparing Muslims praying in the streets to the Nazi occupation. She has called for the headscarf to be banned, for the banning of non-pork meals in French schools, and for the surveillance of French mosques.
Weyman Bennett, Joint Secretary of Unite Against Fascism said: “It is sickening that a known fascist may now become President of France. Marine Le Pen’s track record speaks for itself. Her Euro fascism threatens Muslims, Jews, trades unionists, all who stand in the way of her rebranding of fascism.
“The FN can be vulnerable to opposition that calls it out for what it is. Le Pen works hard to ditch the label of “F for fascist, N for Nazi” precisely because it is so damaging. We send solidarity to all anti fascists in France. Le Pen’s Islamophobia and anti Semitism must be combated by as broad and large a coalition as possible.”
Sabby Dhalu, Joint Secretary of Unite Against Fascism said: “That a figure like Le Pen now may become President in France will fill with horror all who value diversity and multiculturalism. He father Jean Marie Le Pen built his party on murderous hate and the fascist tradition of Hitler and Mussolini. Racists and fascists will feel emboldened by this news in France and around the world, and we are likely to see more Islamophobic and racist attacks in the build up to the second round”.
“Disturbingly, the centre right and liberal parties have flirted with alliances with the Front National. We have to learn the lessons of history. Giving a platform to Marine Le Pen and the Front National has enabled the worst racism and anti Semitism to grow again in France. We call on all those who oppose fascism to join us tonight and on 2nd May to build the opposition to the rising menace of the far-right across Europe.”