Paris: Furious protests erupt hours before election
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Gilet Jaunes (Yellow Vests) protesters marched across the French capital today in a bid to convince voters to send Mr Macron home. Calling for “anything but Macron”, demonstrators held placards against the European Union and chanted Mr Macron should go to prison. Express.co.uk spoke to voters at the protest as they geared up to march for almost 10km across the city.
Baluchel Maurice, 65, a pensioner, said he had been marching with the Yellow Vests for three years hoping Mr Macron will never have the chance of a second term.
He said he hoped for Frexit as France has lost its sovereignty under Brussels rules.
“Anything but Macron,” he said, adding “Europe commands at the moment, not France”.
Tracy, 59, a beautician and a supporter of the Yellow Vests echoed: “Macron has been really bad for France, we have no choice tomorrow.
“It’s anything but Macron. If he wins again there will be more protests but I suspect he will increase police presence on the streets. It will be really bad.”
Marc, 65, an engineer and also a Yellow Vest, said: “We want to regain nation state status.
“We want to change the system and we want independent media.
“No more Macron propaganda. He is a marionette of the EU.
“The European Union is just following the world new order and Marine le pen will have no choice but to listen to us.”
Maillet Francois, 67, unemployed was also critical of the French President and the EU.
He said: “Macron is the worst that could happen for France.
“I want an independent France, the EU is a vassal state.”
Pericles Fred, 63, former police officer said he was still undecided whether to give his vote for Marine Le Pen tomorrow but was also adamant she could become a true ally.
He said: “Macron is for the world new order and the globalisation.
“I don’t know if I’ll vote tomorrow, maybe for Le Pen.
“The election is fraud anyway. The election is not a legitimate way to do politics in this country.
“But Le pen is against the tyranny of the system.
“Macron is an artisan of globalism. He’s a criminal and we won’t forgive him.”
Welfare consultant Alan, 55, said Marine Le Pen “is not ready to be President”.
But he added: “She’s all we have. “I think she has no choice but saying she’s eurosceptic, but she’ll have no power. Power is in Brussels.”
Congratulating the UK for leaving the EU, he added: “The UK is doing better than France because of Brexit.
“If Macron wins the second time he will have no limits.
“More refugees, mandatory vaccination, and involvement in the Ukraine war. Not a good look for France.”
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Sunday’s vote will determine whether the pro-European centrist President Macron or the far-right, anti-immigration Le Pen governs France for the next five years.
Opinion polls point to Macron as the likely winner but with a much smaller margin than in 2017, when he beat Le Pen with 66.1 percent of the vote.
A Le Pen win cannot be ruled out, even if it is the less likely of the two scenarios.
Neither candidate has enough diehard supporters to take them to power. So the key is to convince voters the other candidate is worse, with Macron honing in on fears of the far-right and Le Pen banking on voter disenchantment with her opponent’s record in power.
The decisions of left-wing voters will be crucial to the outcome. Macron’s style and policies have upset many on the left and he will find it harder than in 2017 to win enough of them over and keep the far-right out of power.
Whoever wins on Sunday will only have done so after a bitter, divisive campaign and probably with a small majority.
If Mr Macron wins, he would face a difficult second mandate, with little to no grace period and voters of all stripes likely to take to the streets over his plan to continue pro-business reforms, including on pensions.
If Le Pen wins, a radical change in France’s domestic and international policies would be expected, and street protests could start immediately.
Either way, one of the winner’s first challenges will be to win the June parliamentary elections.
Surveys show voters are unhappy with Macron’s economic policy, but unemployment is at its lowest in years and those polled don’t think any of his opponents would do better.
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