Algeria's foreign minister has called French presidential frontrunner Emmanuel Macron a "friend" of the country, after the centrist candidate drew criticism for calling France's colonisation a "crime against humanity". Some held banners reading "No Fatherland, No Boss, No Le Pen, No Macron", referring to Le Pen's nationalist campaign and Macron's pro-business campaign.
French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron has visited a sports complex in a working-class immigrant suburb of Paris. Likewise, now rid of Francois Fillon, the conservative whose financial scandals dominated the initial campaign, Le Pen now has a chance to turn the election into a debate about France, its future and her argument that one of the founding European Union nations would be better off freed of the bloc's constraints.
While Le Pen presents herself as an anti-establishment candidate, Macron claimed on the contrary that she is "the heiress of this system".
Macron went into a gymnasium to meet with members of an association that helps with the integration of local youths into society through sports, assistance in setting-up businesses and finding them jobs.
As Macron met elsewhere with the workers' union leaders, Le Pen displayed her political guile by grabbing the spotlight and popping up outside the factory itself.
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French high school students scuffled with riot police in a cloud of tear gas during a Paris protest in which they pained Le Pen as an extreme nationalist with unsafe views and Macron as too cozy with the finance world. Students are holding demonstrations in front of some schools. The two politicians will face each other in a run-off on May 7.
"In the coming years, we can manage only by making large savings thanks to the European Parliament and if we obtain additional transfers", FN treasurer Wallerand de Saint Just wrote in a note to Le Pen, according to Le Monde. To add to the anxiety, polls were predicting a lead to the far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who has been against the euro and globalization.
"When I heard that Emmanuel Macron was coming here and that he didn't plan to meet the workers, that he didn't plan to come to the picket line, but that he was going to shelter in some room at the chamber of commerce to meet two or three hand-picked people, I considered that it was such a sign of contempt for what the Whirlpool workers are going through that I chose to leave my strategic council and come see you", Le Pen said at the site.
She said in a statement on Wednesday evening that, if elected, she would not let the factory be shut down as planned in 2018 and would bring it under state control for a time if necessary to secure its future.
The far-right candidate again tore into Mr Macron's more economically liberal policy plans.