PARIS (Mar. 19)
Anti-Semitic graffiti bearing the signature of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s extreme right-wing National Front was smeared on the walls of the synagogue of Bayonne in southwestern France on Tuesday night.
The daubing consisted of slogans saying Jews should be gassed.
Le Pen’s party is expected to receive 15 percent of the vote in the local and regional elections this Sunday, according to the latest available opinion polls.
The figure could be obsolete because French law forbids publication of political polls within a few days of an election. But a 15 percent share would be the best performance to date for the party, which campaigns on a blatantly xenophobic platform and would position it as a serious contender in the next parliamentary elections.
The ruling Socialist Party has become a scapegoat for voter dissatisfaction and is not expected to poll more than 18 percent Sunday, though it will continue to govern until the national elections.
The current campaign turned violent in Paris on Wednesday, when masked youths wearing helmets tried to disrupt a National Front meeting. They clashed briefly with police.
The police also skirmished with Skinhead gangs supportive of the extreme right.
But anti-Le Pen demonstrations in France seem to have lost momentum as the election nears. A rally by far left-wing parties drew a meager 2,000 on a march to Bastille Square on Wednesday.