France's Hollande booed at tribute to fallen WWI soldiers

PARIS Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:17am EST

France's President Francois Hollande leaves after a ceremony to commemorate the end of the World War One at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, November 11, 2013. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

France's President Francois Hollande leaves after a ceremony to commemorate the end of the World War One at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, November 11, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Christian Hartmann

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PARIS (Reuters) - French police arrested about 70 people at an Armistice Day memorial ceremony on Monday after protesters who the government said were linked to the far right booed President Francois Hollande.

Newscasters said it was the first time a French head of state had been jeered on November 11, which commemorates the signing of the armistice in 1918 between World War One allies and Germany.

Scuffles erupted between police and the protesters as the Socialist president's motorcade drove up the tree-lined Champs-Elysees boulevard to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beneath the Arc de Triomphe in central Paris.

Some of the protesters shouted "Hollande, step down" and "Socialist Dictator!" and Interior Minister Manuel Valls said they included members of far-right groups opposed to government policies such as same-sex marriages.

"Today on the Champs-Elysees, several dozen individuals linked to the far right ... did not want to respect this moment of contemplation and gathering," Valls told reporters, describing their actions as "unacceptable".

One protester told BFM-TV the boos and gibes were targeted purely at Hollande.

"I find it absolutely shameful that we don't have the right to speak up without being arrested," said the woman. "Saying 'Hollande, step down' is not offensive."

"We have the impression that he's not listening so we have to protest," she said, without specifying why she wanted the president to resign.

A CSA poll published last Friday showed Hollande's popularity ratings, pummeled by an ailing economy, heavy taxes and other issues, at the lowest level of any president since the founding of France's Fifth Republic 55 years ago.

Protests have forced Hollande to give ground over planned tax increases, including most recently a new levy on heavy trucks that mobilized hundreds in the western region of Brittany. Hollande has now deferred but not scrapped the levy.

Valls said Monday's protesters included members of the far-right National Front, which has seen its popularity surge on the back of the widespread public discontent ahead of municipal and European elections scheduled for next year.

(Reporting By Alexandria Sage; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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Comments (2)
AdamSmith wrote:
I’m guessing what’s happening in France is similar to other advanced nations, and it is this:

The LEFT is normally for the COMMON PEOPLE, and the RIGHT is for the WEALTHY, big business and the establishment. That is well known. But in this current era of massive globalization and unprecedented massive immigration, things are being twisted askew.

How are they askew? This is how: The left, normally for the common people, now supports the massive immigration, which directly hurts the COMMON PEOPLE, because immigration drives down wage rates and drives up rents, and destroys the middle class.

The RIGHT, still for the wealthy, is also, as always, in favor of massive immigration because of its effects, i.e., because immigration drives down wage rates and drives up rents, and makes the wealthy even wealthier.

So now, in France, Great Britain and the United States, we see the same phenomenon happening: The LEFT is for immigration, and thus is against the COMMON PEOPLE citizens. The RIGHT, as always, is for immigration, and, as always, is against the common people citizens.

Thus that leaves nobody representing the common people citizens against the gigantic waves of immigrants flooding into these advanced nations on an unprecedented scale.

The only people taking a stand FOR the common citizen AGAINST his utter destruction by the flood of immigration are the far-right minor organizations like the fast-growing UKIPs, United Kingdom Independent Party in Great Britain.

I know of no left-leaning party or organization in any of these countries that is not pro-immigration. It is as if the left has completely forsaken the working middle class citizen, and instead woos and encourages the massive waves of immigrants who are destroying the middle class.

Thus the common citizens who might in times past leaned toward the liberal LEFT, in England, France or the United States, now sees the middle class being destroyed by immigration, and also sees how the LEFT shouts encouragement and amnesty for even more immigration.

Nov 11, 2013 9:22am EST  --  Report as abuse
Lavrentii wrote:
Good analysis, but it don’t see the left championing increased immigration, as you do, but rather reforms for a fair and rational treatment of immigrants who may already be in country or who may arrive legally in the future through a defined process.

In addition, It is the left that is pushing for consequences for businesses that hire illegal immigrants and who encourage illegal immigration through overseas recruitment practices in search for cheap labor. Only the immigrant is being targeted now; the business needs to suffer some consequence, too. Fair is fair.

The middle class needs to get off their duff and get informed and get involved. We do not need the reactionary right as a guide, though, given its history of emotional, bigoted and hate inspiring leadership and agenda.

Nov 11, 2013 12:34pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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