Le Pen claims to be spokesperson for ‘real yellow vests’

French Member of Parliament and President of the Rassemblement National (RN) far-right party Marine Le Pen. [EPA-EFE/ETIENNE LAURENT]

Marine Le Pen has said that she is the mouthpiece for the ‘real yellow vests’ for the European elections, standing up for “poor workers, admirable single mums and needy pensioners.” EURACTIV France’s media partner La Tribune reports.

The Rassemblement National (RN) leader made these comments at a public meeting in Saint-Paul-du-Bois in western France. In this small rural municipality with a population of around 600, she received exactly the same score as Emmanuel Macron in the first round of the 2017 French presidential elections, with 19.24% of the vote.

However, both were well behind François Fillon (35.77%).

With fewer than 100 days to go until the European elections, the far-right leader criticised “the appalling period of presidential narcissism” and Emmanuel Macron’s “long soporific monologue” on the occasion of the “Great national debate.” This debate was organised by the French executive in response to the ‘yellow vest’ crisis.

The “real yellow vests”

“He hasn’t understood that (…) the real yellow vests – not the far-left scum who invite themselves so they can bring their hatred and their violence – aren’t lazy (…) as he believes them to be, but poor workers, admirable single mums and needy pensioners,” Le Pen stated.

“The people do not want to debate any more, they want to decide,” she stated in front of several hundred people.

Jorden Bardella, the young candidate leading RN’s list for the European elections, also criticised the “great false debate” which was “completely locked down” by “interminable lectures orchestrated by professor Macron.”

The two figures from RN were joined on the stage by Jean-Paul Garraud, former French MP and one of the founders of the Droite populaire current on the right of the conservative Les Républicains party.

“I have joined you, confident and without hesitation: you current embody the political line I’ve always had. As the populist I am, I can’t be cured and I’m even proud of it,” stated the former examining magistrate, who previously brought the proposal of establishing a national prosecution service to combat terrorism.

Attempt to instrumentalise a fragmenting movement

The fourteenth consecutive weekend of demonstrations in France brought together 5,000 people in Paris, according to the French interior minister. For the first time, the ‘yellow vests’ were also invited to demonstrate on a Sunday to celebrate the protest movement’s “birthday”, as the first demonstrations took place on 17 November.

Around 1,500 people marched in Paris on Sunday to mark three months of the movement. However, this peaceful demonstration was marked by insults towards Ingrid Levavasseur, who decided to back down from leading the “Ralliement d’initiative citoyenne” list at the European elections.

Several hundred people peacefully marched between the Champs-Élysées and the Champ-de-Mars, next to the Eiffel tower. They then dispersed without any incident under the supervision of a large police presence.

“Take off your vest, traitor”

Levavasseur, one of the movement’s leading figures, was taken to task by some protestors at the end of the demonstration and was forced to move away amidst booing and insults.

On Wednesday (13 February), the 31-year-old care assistant announced that she was distancing herself from the “Ralliement d’initiative citoyenne” list, which she was supposed to lead for the European elections, and that she wanted “a fresh start.”

The cry of “take off your vest, traitor” and sexist insults flew at Levavasseur as she passed through the demonstration on Sunday.

“This will give the movement a bad image even though we’re all ‘yellow vests,’” regretted Levavasseur. “It definitely won’t discourage me, in fact, it makes me even stronger,” she added.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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