A man lunged at French far-right presidential hopeful Eric Zemmour, grabbing him by the neck as the former was about to kick off his first campaign rally. The event was mired by scuffles between his supporters and “anti-racists.”
Zemmour was making his way to the stage of his inaugurate campaign event in the Paris suburb of Villepinte on Sunday when a man appeared to have charged at him, briefly locking his arms behind the candidate’s neck.
The incident was captured on video, which has been making rounds online.
🔴 Un homme s'est jeté sur Eric #Zemmour avant son arrivée à la tribune, il a été aussitôt attrapé et écarté par les agents de sécurité #ZemmourVillepinte #Villepinte #antifas pic.twitter.com/yP5rsQjPp4
— Amaury Brelet (@AmauryBrelet) December 5, 2021
Zemmour’s security detail promptly rounded up the individual, handing him over to police. The man was taken into custody on suspicion of “premeditated violence,” French BFM TV channel reported. The alleged attacker was known to police over his involvement in “common law offences,” the channel said.
Seemingly unperturbed by the incident, Zemmour proceeded to the stage, hosting a rally before some 12,000-strong crowd despite reportedly injuring his wrist in the melee.
At his first rally since declaring his presidential bid, Zemmour, known primarily for his anti-immigrant stance, also vowed to withdraw France from NATO. Popular talk show host-turned politician, Zemmour pledged to protect French businesses from American and Chinese corporations, raise workers’ compensation and remove the teaching of “inclusiveness” from school curriculum.
At one point the fired-up crowd broke out into singing the French national anthem, ‘La Marseillaise.’
WATCH: French presidential hopeful Éric #Zemmour holds a big rally. The crowd sang "La Marseillaise" as Zemmour spoke about dismantling "illegal immigration networks" and restoring France to greatness. Some say Zemmour is France's Tucker Carlson.pic.twitter.com/j0gylymj4c
— Election Wizard (@ElectionWiz) December 5, 2021
The event was mired by violent clashes between Zemmour’s supporters and self-styled anti-racism activists. About a dozen members of SOS Racisme group showed up at the rally with a “No to Racism” banner, and claimed that they were attacked by Zemmour’s supporters.
One clip shows an unknown man hitting a woman, apparently a SOS Racisme activist, at the beginning of the showdown.
Action de SOS Racisme ''Non aux racistes !'' en fond de salle, devant les caméras des journalistes.
En réaction, des personnes attaquent, une chaise est lancée en l’air.
— Léopold Audebert (@LeopoldAudebert) December 5, 2021
One of the female SOS Racisme activists was sporting a bloody face when later interviewed by the French media.
— Baudouin Wisselmann (@Baudouin_wissel) December 5, 2021