Europe 1 with AFP 1:50 p.m., February 05, 2022

Several hundred demonstrators gathered this Saturday morning in Lille in the presence of the PS mayor, Martine Aubry, before the arrival of Eric Zemmour, to say "no to racism and the far right".

The candidate for the presidential election must hold a meeting there this afternoon where up to 8,000 participants are expected.

Around 300 demonstrators gathered on Saturday morning in the presence of the PS mayor, Martine Aubry, to say "No to racism, no to the far right" in the center of Lille before a rally by presidential candidate Eric Zemmour.

"We are facing a character whose only engine is hatred, particularly racist", "when we are facing the far right, we must stand up and challenge (...) the logic of hatred", launched to the crowd Dominique Sopo, the president of SOS-Racisme, at the initiative of the rally, supported by around twenty parties - EELV, LFI, PC - unions and associations.

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"Zemmour has the right to express himself but we have the right and the duty to come together to say that we are fighting everything he is, what he says, his theses", echoed Martine Aubry, who had called on his fellow citizens to join the rally, declaring that the candidate was "not welcome".

"This man only works through hatred (...) he carries and leads to violence", "let's make a commitment not to let him say these horrors anymore", she again launched, to applause.

Up to 8,000 participants expected for Eric Zemmour's meeting

This rally opened the ball of challenges to the presence of the candidate Reconquête!, before an "antifa" demonstration which should start at the beginning of the afternoon some 800m from the Grand Palais hosting the meeting.

With up to 8,000 participants expected, Eric Zemmour must hold a second show of force there in the afternoon after the meeting on December 5 in Villepinte, marked by violence.

For Sabine Donnaint, 49, co-president of the Dunkirk section of the Human Rights League, there is no question of not mobilizing "against the candidate of rejection of foreigners and non-welcome" who "leads a policy that is not up to France".

"Zemmour is the opposite of our values", fulminates Dominique Lesart 70 years old, retired and associative activist, who deplores that "some parties find it profitable to take migrants and foreigners as scapegoats".

"Antifa, feminist, anti-racist activists, we have no choice, we have to come together" against the far right, launches Raphaël Arnault, a young "antifa" activist from Lyon.

Anne-Françoise, a doctor, is however disappointed with the limited attendance: "For me, who experienced the great period of the left, coming here and finding so few people is heartbreaking", she laments.

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