Eric Zemmour is put in headlock as violence erupts at his first political rally

Fights broke out between supporters of Mr Zemmour and anti-racism protesters as he set out his 'zero immigration' vison for France

Wirecopy, Eric Zemmour

12/6/2021 2:03:00 AM

Eric Zemmour promised to “reconquer” France on Sunday during his first political rally, as supporters beat and bloodied anti-racism activists who had come to disrupt the event and Zemmour himself was briefly placed in a headlock by a protester.

Fights broke out between supporters of Mr Zemmour and anti-racism protesters as he set out his 'zero immigration' vison for France

The 63-year-old author and television commentator suffered a wrist injury when a man grabbed him violently as he made his way towards the stage at a giant exhibition centre northeast of Paris, an aide told AFP.It came as Mr Zemmour's supporters clashed with anti-racism activists who had come to disrupt the event.

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In an hour-and-a-half-long speech to an estimated crowd of 10,000, Mr Zemmour promised to “reconquer” France and set out his vision of “zero immigration” as he launched salvos against the Left and mainstream media."If I win this election, it won't be another rotation of power but a reconquest of the greatest country in the world,” he said to cheers from the crowd. “Join us.”

He said he was calling his party "Reconquest", a name that evokes the historic period known as the Reconquista, when Christian forces drove Muslim rulers from the Iberian peninsula.“From the first week of my mandate, zero immigration will become a clear objective of our policy,” Mr Zemmour - who has been described as the French Donald Trump - told flag-waving supporters at an exhibition hall.

During his speech, about a dozen activists from the French campaign group SOS Racisme rose to their feet shouting “No to racism,” prompting attendees to throw punches and chairs, images showed.L’agression de zemmour, digne des plus grands catcheurs #ZemmourVillepinte

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— Benj 🌒 (@benjdpl) December 5, 2021 The attacks left at least one of the female protesters with a bloody forehead. Several other activists were brutally attacked and dragged out of the room. The scuffles continued outside the exhibition hall between anti-racism activists and security guards, according to reports.

Reporters from a French television show covering politics were booed and insulted by Mr Zemmour's supporters ahead of his speech, leading them to be briefly escorted outside the room by security guards. They came back soon afterwards but Mr Zemmour harshly criticised the media in his speech.

"They snoop into my private life, call me all sorts of names... My adversaries want my political death, journalists want my social death and jihadists want my death," he said.Mr Zemmour, who has been convicted for inciting racial hatred, is the main challenger to long-time far-right figure Marine Le Pen for a place in a second run-off round of next April's election, most likely against President Emmanuel Macron.

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Known for provocative statements against Islam and immigration, he has won support away from both Le Pen's voter base but also the mainstream conservative right.To rounds of applause, Mr Zemmour outlined a raft of anti-immigration proposals, including limiting the number of successful asylum seekers to a “handful” every year.

He said he would eliminate family reunification programs and get rid of unemployed foreigners after six months.“France must become generous with our own,” he said.The rally was also a chance for the 63-year-old to regain momentum after stumbling in opinion polls following his dramatic entrance into French politics in September.

Shouting "Zezu President!" or singing the Marseillaise national anthem, fans stood with flyers proclaiming an anti-immigrant candidacy "so that France remains French.""We're hoping that by announcing his candidacy and with this meeting that it will relaunch him a bit," Maxence Mike, a 22-year-old student, told the French news agency AFP.

"There's a malaise in France, a crisis of civilisations and security problems, and for now he's the only one with the courage to pose these problems clearly," Jacques Ohana, a 65-year-old Paris surgeon, said, noting that like Mr Zemmour he had north African origins.

A protest against Mr Zemmour took place elsewhere in Paris yesterday, organised by over 50 organisations including far-Left political parties, unions and anti-racist groups. Police had feared clashes with the pundit's far-right supporters.

Read more: The Telegraph »

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