France's Fillon cancels Friday election campaign event after Paris shooting

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"I want to be the president of the French Republic".

On Twitter, where automated accounts are allowed, numerous same accounts that promoted Republican Donald Trump in the U.S. campaign previous year have turned their attention to pushing conspiracy theories and far-right viewpoints, according to Mr Limonier and Clinton Watts, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and now a senior fellow at the George Washington University Center for Cyber and Homeland Security.

Le Pen was addressing the role of religion in the public sphere. Some of them threw projectiles and firecrackers.

She said if she's elected, she'll invite Pope Francis to France "with great pleasure" and "will tell him exactly what I have just told you".

Centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen held onto their lead as the frontrunners to narrowly beat other candidates in the first round of the presidential election, a Cevipof poll for Le Monde newspaper showed on Wednesday.

Her speech provoke a spontaneous outburst of the national anthem from her crowd of supporters. It goes further than her previous plans to curb migration.

A new survey published Wednesday showed Macron leading on 23 percent to Le Pen's 22.5 percent - both of them down slightly.

Melenchon, a firebrand left-winger who has surged in recent weeks, was on 19%, while Fillon, whose campaign has been hurt by a financial scandal, received 19.5% of support.

The two candidates with the most votes in the first round of the election will compete in the runoff.

Jean-Yves Camus, an academic and expert on the FN, told AFP that Le Pen had returned to the "fundamentals, and particularly immigration" in the final run-in.

France's Fillon cancels Friday election campaign event after Paris shooting
France's Fillon cancels Friday election campaign event after Paris shooting

"It's back to basics", he said. "The FN top brass has chose to go full throttle for far-right voters".

French police are hunting a man identified by Belgian security services in connection with an attack on police officers in Paris Thursday, a French interior ministry spokesman said.

A cache of weapons and explosives was found in the apartment of the suspects named as Clement Baur, 23, and Mahiedine Merabet, 29. Authorities announced Tuesday that they had arrested two Islamic radicals suspected of plotting a possible attack around the vote. Le Pen has also recently proposed an immediate moratorium on legal immigration, and the recall of military reservists to enforce France's borders.

Left-leaning Le Monde newspaper has dismissed the claim as "absurd" given that most of the attackers were French, many without criminal records. Probably Melenchon, because he could persuade more people to hold their noses and vote for an ex-Trotskyist than Le Pen could convince to vote for the unshriven daughter of a fascist. "It's a sort of moral red line", the newspaper said.

With millions of French voters still undecided or planning to abstain, the vote is the most unpredictable in France in decades.

On Tuesday night, she insisted that the TF1 television channel remove the blue-and-yellow European flag from behind her before an interview.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Former President Barack Obama waded into France's closely watched presidential election on Thursday, offering centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron his best wishes - and even a bit of campaign advice.

But while Melenchon doesn't want to abandon the euro, he wants to renegotiate European Union treaties and to ditch the Berlin-backed Stability and Growth Pact that limits the size of deficits that EU governments are allowed to run.

The BVA poll showed abstentions at between 20 and 24%. That stance drew the ire of France's Minister for Agriculture Stephane Le Foll, who asked what the Front National leader planned to do with France's spare six or seven million litres of milk.

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