A French presidential candidate was attacked by a protester on Sunday night, less than a week after announcing his run for office.
Eric Zemmour was about to deliver a speech at a rally in the Paris suburb of Villepinte when he was grabbed by a man and placed in a headlock before security officers dragged him away. The attack resulted in Zemmour getting his wrist injured, with a doctor ordering him to rest for nine days, according to the Washington Post.
A brawl also broke out between protesters and Zemmour supporters after protesters wearing anti-racism T-shirts had chairs thrown at them. SOS Racisme, an activist group, said five of its members attending the rally were injured. Police detained approximately 60 people in connection to the fight, the Washington Post reported.
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French far-right presidential candidate Eric Zemmour launched his bid Sunday amid chaotic scenes that saw him being put into a brief headlock and anti-racism campaigners physically attacked. pic.twitter.com/SG1g5dn0se— DW News (@dwnews) December 7, 2021
Zemmour spoke to the crowd of about 13,000 people, during which he announced his new political party called Reconquête. If elected president, he said he would slash immigration and expel unsuccessful asylum-seekers and illegal immigrants.
Zemmour announced his run for president of France on Nov. 30. On Monday, the day after he was attacked, he said in a tweet he was the only one "who defends freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of debate, freedom of describing reality."
I am the only one who defends freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of debate, freedom of describing reality, while they're all fantasizing about banning our rallies and having me convicted.#ZemmourVillepinte #RECONQUETE #ZemmourPresident #Zemmour2022 #France https://t.co/weTQ39ENaF— Éric Zemmour | English (@ZemmourEnglish) December 6, 2021
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Authorities detained a suspect at the rally, though they did not immediately comment on the suspect's motives or background, the outlet reported.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT - Supporters of French far-right presidential candidate Eric Zemmour threw punches and chairs at several protesters wearing anti-racism T-shirts during his first political rally https://t.co/J19m7HELcV pic.twitter.com/pCYeRmZR9Q— Reuters (@Reuters) December 6, 2021
Sunday's assault was not the first time a French political figure was attacked this year. French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face by a man in June when he reached out to shake the man's hand.