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Jewish Students Attacked by Supporters of Le Pen

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Jewish students demonstrating against Jean-Marie Le Pen’s extreme right-wing National Front were attacked by student supporters of Le Pen at Assas University here Monday. A police spokesman said two students were slightly injured and hospitalized.

The clash occurred in the university’s entrance hall, where Jewish students were distributing leaflets condemning Le Pen and his party as “fascists and Nazis.”

According to Jewish students, the Le Pen supporters assaulted the group handing out leaflets with chains, iron bars and lead pipes. University guards intervened to protect the Jewish students.

Le Pen angered Jews and non-Jews all over Europe last month when during a Radio Luxemburg interview he referred to the Holocaust as a “mere detail” of World War II.

Since the remark, Le Pen’s popularity has plummeted. According to the results of a public opinion poll published in the daily Le Monde Tuesday, 66 percent of those questioned said Le Pen and his National Front represent a danger to French democracy. Prior to the Radio Luxemburg interview, 10 percent fewer people held that opinion.

In addition, 78 percent of the respondents in the latest poll disagreed with Le Pen’s theories and only 8 percent said they would vote for him in next year’s presidential elections. Last May, 9 percent of those polled said they were prepared to vote for Le Pen; a year ago, the number was 10 percent.

With respect to Le Pen’s remark that he never saw a gas chamber during the Holocaust, 89 percent of the respondents in this week’s poll said they were “certain” the gas chambers had existed, 8 percent thought it “probable” and only 1 percent “doubted” their existence.

The survey was conducted between Oct. 7-21 among 1,000 adults by Sofres, one of France’s most prominent poll-taking organizations.

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