People celebrated while their fists flew in the background: Eric Zemmour
Photo: CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON / EPA
Accompanied by a large number of police and to the cheers of more than 10,000 supporters, the right-wing extremist publicist Éric Zemmour has started his election campaign in France.
At the opening event in a trade fair hall in Villepinte near Paris, there were tumults and protests.
Zemmour's opponents streamed in front of the hall, which was protected by a police presence, as can be seen on television pictures.
At the event, Zemmour announced the name of his new movement "Reconquête".
France was on the brink of the abyss and the existence of the French was threatened, a "bigger fight than we" was necessary to save, said Zemmour.
As the organization "SOS Rassismus" announced, members were attacked and in some cases injured during a protest in the hall.
Video recordings show tumultuous scenes, people being pushed, beaten and thrown with chairs.
The demonstrators wore T-shirts that read “Non au racisme” (“No to racism”) and were pushed out of the hall.
One of the participants then stood with a blood-smeared head in front of a camera in front of the building.
In Paris itself, around 2,200 people demonstrated against Zemmour without incidents.
During his appearance in the exhibition hall, Zemmour once again described migrants as a great danger to the country.
"You are 15,000 today," he called to the cheering crowd.
"15,000 French who defied political correctness, the threats of the extreme left and the hatred of the media." In his speech, the right-wing author complained that he was being persecuted by a "pack of politicians, journalists and jihadists" and by his opponents as "Fascist, racist and misogynist" is called.
"If I win, this will be the beginning of the reconquest of the most beautiful country in the world," promised Zemmour.
Zemmour sometimes represents extremely anti-migration and nationalist positions and has therefore already been convicted twice for sedition.
For weeks he has been stirring up the pre-election campaign in France.
On Tuesday, Zemmour finally announced that he would run for the presidential election in April 2022.
The former journalist, who comes from an Algerian-Jewish family, is given the chance to make it into the runoff election against incumbent Emmanuel Macron instead of right-wing populist Marine Le Pen.
In the polls, he had temporarily overtaken Le Pen, who was defeated by Macron in the runoff election in 2017.
Recently, however, his campaign stalled.
atb / dpa / AFP