This Sunday, the newly declared candidate, Éric Zemmour, held a meeting in the Villepinte Exhibition Hall (Seine-Saint-Denis). But quickly, incidents and violence broke out. First, a man tried to grab the polemicist who was going on stage. Then, SOS Racisme activists who were attempting a happening were violently beaten by participants in the rally. According to our information, 11 people were arrested, iron bars and paving stones were found.
What happened ?
At first, journalists from the program “Quotidien” were attacked by a group of Eric Zemmour supporters, before being booed by the crowd, to the point that security had to exfiltrate them. Journalists from Mediapart were also beaten, according to the media.
Another tense moment: during his crossing of the room to go on stage, the polemicist and now candidate was grabbed by an individual, who was quickly removed by security, arrested by the police and taken into custody for “violence”. The young man, aged 27, would be known to the courts for acts of “violence and threats”. He was still in custody this Monday morning. His father was also arrested.
According to Eric Zemmour’s entourage, the candidate was injured in the wrist during this incident, which would have cost him nine days of ITT.
Most the real outburst of violence took place a few minutes later, when around ten SOS Racisme activists attempted a happening. Installed at the back of the room, they unveiled clothes with letters making it possible to form the message “no to racism”. Within seconds, they received an avalanche of beatings, were targeted by thrown chairs, before being finally exfiltrated.
“The images exclude well the provocation to violence on the part of the militants of SOS Racism”, comments the lawyer Patrick Klugman, who describes rather “a lynching”. “We consider that what happened is extremely serious, because the action was peaceful,” he explains of the happening consisting simply of unveiling a t-shirt.
Before the start of the meeting, in the early afternoon on Sunday, activists hostile to Eric Zemmour had gathered outside the Villepinte Exhibition Hall. About sixty were arrested.
Have any complaints been lodged?
For the time being, not yet, but complaints will be filed “during the day” by the activists who have been beaten, says lawyer Patrick Klugman, who adds that video surveillance images will be viewed by then. “SOS Racisme will support their action” in justice, he specified.
According to the prosecution, an investigation was opened and entrusted to the territorial security 93 “to analyze precisely the facts committed, to use the available videos and to investigate all the acts of violence that could be denounced”.
In addition, the lawyer of Eric Zemmour, master Olivier Pardo, confirmed to the Parisian that the candidate had lodged a complaint after the clash during his rise on stage, “for aggravated violence with premeditations and ambush”.
What are the victims suffering from?
For the time being, “all have not yet been examined,” explains lawyer Patrick Klugman on Monday morning. But AFP journalists present on the spot noted that at least two people were bleeding. For his part, Dominique Sopo, president of SOS Racisme, explained on France info that “five people were injured, including two treated by firefighters”.
What do we know about officials?
Not much at the moment, but the many images should identify at least some of the perpetrators.
On the other hand, we know a little more about the profile of certain spectators present. According to Release, members of the extreme right-wing group “Zouaves Paris” – known for their violence – were present, as well as elders of Generation Identity (dissolved in March 2021).
What are the reactions?
In the Zemmour camp, it is said that the SOS Racisme activists should not have come. These people “did not have to be there, we must not come and provocate in our room,” said Antoine Diers, a member of Eric Zemmour’s campaign team, to AFP. “It’s not okay to come and provoke. But no one should use unreasonable force for all that, ”he also explained to the Parisian.
An argument inadmissible for master Patrick Klugman. “During campaigns, all politicians are used to having militant protests,” sweeps the lawyer. “We never imagined it could get out of hand at this point. We came to titillate people ”, reacted, for his part, the president of SOS Racisme Dominique Sopo.