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Protests in Paris as Far-Right makes gains in European parliament elections

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Political activists are staging planned and unannounced rallies nationwide on June 10 in response to the French electoral results. Late on June 9, French President Emmanuel Macron called for snap elections following the results of EU elections in France.

The declaration prompted spontaneous protests in France’s major cities, denouncing the rise of right-wing parties in French politics. Rallies have occurred since late June 9.

Further unplanned demonstrations will likely occur in France’s major cities through June 10 and in the coming days.

Authorities will likely deploy increased security to monitor the gatherings; localized road travel and transport disruptions are likely near protest sites. Occasional confrontations between law enforcement officers and protesters, as well as between demonstrators and rival groups, might occur.

It was a good weekend for the far right across the European Union, and a nightmare for liberals and greens, as residents in 27 countries went to the polls to elect the bloc’s new parliament.

The centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stood its ground, remaining the strongest group in the European Parliament. “We will stop them — this is for sure,” von der Leyen told her supporters, triumphant in her tone.

But a growing far-right presence at the heart of Europe is expected to shake up policies in Brussels. As von der Leyen aims for a second term as European Commission president, she will have to deal with a parliament less environmentally friendly, more fragmented and increasingly unwelcoming towards migrants, observers say.

Another, taken in the centre of Bordeaux, showed riot-gear equipped officers marching down a narrow street while firing tear gas at protesters. 

In Paris, activists were seen thronging the city’s Place de la République, a site that hosts a 31ft tall statue of Marianne, the personification of the French Republic. 

Many in Paris were seen holding signs in fervent protest against Le Pen and her 28-year-old protege and political ‘wunderkind’ Jordan Bardella. 

The EU election, which has been held across the continent over the last three days, is the first since Brexit, the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

On top of these, many voters have been hit by the cost of living, have concerns about migration and the cost of the green transition and are disturbed by geopolitical tensions, including war in Ukraine, and hard and far-right parties have seized on this and offered the electorate an alternative.

The Big Shift in Europe

The centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) confirmed itself as the 720-seat chamber’s biggest bloc, gaining eight more seats compared to the 2019 elections for a total of 182.

The far-right Identity and Democracy (ID), led by France’s Marine Le Pen, won 58 seats, nine more compared to five years ago.

Nonaligned parties – which include parties from both the right and the left that do not belong to one of the recognised political groups – won 99 seats, 37 more than in 2019.

The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), dominated by Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, earned four more seats than five years ago.

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