Racism and xenophobia on the rise as French voters gear up for crucial election

France’s far-right National Rally (RN) has its best chance yet of clinching power in a second round of legislative elections on July 7, running on a platform that proposes restricting the rights of immigrants and dual nationals. The party’s surge is in step with a broader rise in racism and xenophobia, spurred by the preeminence of far-right ideas in public debate.

A firefighter chased out of a building near Lille to cries of, “This is France, out with the Arabs”; a bakery in Avignon sprayed with racist and homophobic slogans, and then set on fire, for employing an Ivorian apprentice; a teenager beaten and almost drowned in a canal near Nîmes by four men yelling, “Go back to Jihad City”; a shopkeeper in Perpignan summoned, in a letter, to “leave for Africa” before her neighbourhood is “mercilessly cleansed”; a bus driver in a Paris suburb assaulted and run over by man shouting: “I’m tired of people like you, Bougnoules (derogatory term for Arabs) and Blacks – I vote National Rally, I’ll kill you, I’ll massacre you, I’ll eradicate you.”

These are but a few of the dozens of racist attacks documented by local media in France in the three weeks of chaotic and often virulent campaigning that preceded France’s two-round legislative elections, which saw Marine Le Pen’s National Rally top a first round of voting on June 30 on the back of its triumph in European elections earlier in the month.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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