In Paris, the French capital, thousands of left-wing demonstrators clashed with police during a protest march against a meeting of the new European right-wing alliance, known as Euro-Right, on Tuesday (27 June).
In Paris, the French capital, thousands of left-wing demonstrators clashed with police during a protest march against a meeting of the new European right-wing alliance, known as Euro-Right, on Tuesday (27 June). The demonstration was a final attempt by the French left-wing to have the Euro-Right rally banned.
SYNOPSIS: Over 40,000 marchers joined the demonstration, organised by the French Communist Party, trade unionists, war veterans' associations and race relations organisations. Chanting slogans denouncing the members of the Euro-Right alliance as neo-fascists, the demonstrators marched from the Place d' Italie to Montparnesse Station. Their route through central Paris by-passed the hall where the Euro-Right rally was to be held later in the evening. The full force of the Paris riot police accompanied the marchers, ensuring that none of the protesters reached the Mutuality Hall where the 1,500 right-wingers were gathering.
Fighting broke out between the demonstrators and police when the march reached Montparnasse. Fire-crackers were thrown at the police who retaliated by charging into the crowd. During the scuffling that followed, three policemen were injured and at least 40 protesters arrested. The demonstration organisers had hoped that the march would be peaceful.
As the left-wing demonstrators were dispersed by police, members of the Euro-Right alliance were preparing for the start of their rally. Giorgio Almirante, Secretary General of the Italian Social Movement (MSI) addressed the delegates. The MSI founded the Euro-Right alliance with the French Parti des Forces Nouvelles (PFN) and the Spanish rightist party, the Fuerza Nueva, in April. The alliance was formed in preparation for fighting a collective campaign during European Parliament elections next year. Mr. Almirante said that left wing organisations throughout Europe were frightened of the rightist alliance and that their only reply to Euro-Right policies was violence. He said the left wing constituted a threat to all democratic principles and that the defeat of the left in the March French General Election was a great moral victory for all rightists in Europe.
Jean-Louis Tixier-Vignancour, a veteran right-wing French politician and member of the PFN, told the rally that the left wing had gained a strong hold on Europe because of a series of events since the Second World War. He cited the alliance of Communists and Gaullists in the French Parliament in 1954 which rejected a proposal for a European Defence Organisation. He said the rally proved the European Right "was here to stay".