Presidential 2022: why Eric Zemmour’s first meeting promises to be tense

Five days after his official entry into the presidential race, Eric Zemmour wants to make his first meeting, Sunday, December 5 in Villepinte (Seine-Saint-Denis) at 2:30 p.m., a show of force. But this event, which marks the real kickoff of his campaign promises to be tense, while several mobilizations are expected in Villepinte and Paris.

Initially planned at the Zénith in Paris, the meeting will finally take place at the Villepinte Exhibition Center. “In front of the crowd, we had to change location”, boasted Eric Zemmour. The director of events for the new candidate, Olivier Ubéda, assures AFP that he has registered 19,000 registrants.

Even if the expected crowd is the main reason given by those around the polemicist, this change of location is also due to security reasons. It was a question of not putting in “danger” the public in view of the planned events, which Olivier Ubéda anticipates “violent”.

About fifty trade unions, parties and associations, including the CGT, the PCF 75 or even SOS Racisme, called for demonstrations at 1 p.m. in Paris, to “silence” the far-right candidate. Despite the relocation of the meeting, the organizers decided to maintain the route initially planned, from Barbès to La Villette, where the Zénith is located.

On social networks, collective Paris-Suburbs Antifascist Action meanwhile called for a mobilization from noon in Villepinte to “do not leave the slightest plot of land to the far-right candidate”.

Faced with these appeals, the United States Embassy in France advises its nationals not to frequent the Villepinte Exhibition Center area on Sunday, given a risk of“violent clashes” on the sidelines of the meeting. From “Antifa groups called for protests and other actions to disrupt this gathering”, write the American services (in English). They also evoke the presence of “extreme right and extreme left groups” in demonstrations of support or opposition to the presidential candidate.

In this context, the security of the meeting is an obsession of the entourage of the candidate. “We just need to have control over the whole event, and therefore, of course, security”, emphasizes to L’Obs (subscribers article) Albéric Dumont, former vice-president of the Manif pour tous, in charge of the campaign’s security department. “It would be unthinkable that [des] French people give up (to go to the meeting) out of fear “, supports with the weekly Stanislas Rigault, the president of Generation Z, youth movement supporting Eric Zemmour.

The candidate’s team keeps in mind the images of Eric Zemmour heckled during these recent trips. As in Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône), where his visit, Sunday, November 28, was marked by an exchange of fingers of honor with a passerby. A month earlier, in Nantes (Loire-Atlantique), clashes between opponents and law enforcement had broken out on the sidelines of the room where Eric Zemmour was holding a conference, recalls France Bleu.

Besides the fear of Sunday overflows, theThe pressure on Eric Zemmour’s meeting has also taken a political turn. THEhe socialist president of the departmental council of Seine-Saint-Denis, Stéphane Troussel, strongly opposed the holding of the rally in Villepinte.

The elected official launched a petition on Thursday to ask Viparis, the company that owns the Villepinte Exhibition Center, “explinations” on the reception of Eric Zemmour. Stéphane Troussel challenged the company on its “diversity charter” let him judge “incompatible” with the organization of a meeting of a candidate convicted of inciting racial hatred. Asked by AFP, Viparis declined to comment. In the polemicist’s camp, the approach scandalized. “Stéphane Troussel would now like an entire department prohibited to all those who want France to remain France”, Eric Zemmour retorted on Twitter.

In the rest of the political class, the petition was also contested by the candidate of La France insoumise, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who is also holding a meeting this Sunday and for whom “democracy is also listening to what you dislike”. “It is through argumentation first, and ultimately in the ballot box, that the far right is usefully fought”, added the deputy Les Républicains, Guillaume Larrivé.

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