An extreme right-wing television commentator on the lookout for France’s next president sparked outrage today by pointing an assault rifle at reporters and saying, “Back off! “.
Eric Zemmour, the 63-year-old independent with notorious hatred of the press, made the coup d ‘brilliance at the Milipol armaments show in Paris on Wednesday morning.
In scenes posted on social media, Mr. Zemmour can be seen wielding the weapon, without performing any security checks.
Eric Zemmour (pictured at an event on Tuesday), the 63-year-old freelance with notorious press hatred, performed the coup at the Milipol arms fair in Paris on Wednesday morning
He then mumbles, “Are you kidding me?” Push, back! ‘ as he points the weapon – the one used by the French police special forces – at watching journalists.
Citizenship Minister Marlène Schiappa immediately attacked Mr Zemmour, accusing him of blatant irresponsibility.
“Aim at journalists with a gun and tell them to ‘back off!’ “It’s not funny,” Ms Schiappa tweeted.
‘It’s horrible. Especially after having seriously claimed to want to “reduce the power of the media”.
“In a democracy, press freedom is no joke and should never be threatened.
Zemmour – a former journalist himself – responded by calling Schiappa a “fool” and accusing him of “trying to provoke a grotesque controversy.”
Mr. Zemmour’s stunt caused observers to point out basic safety procedures, which everyone should observe when handling a firearm.
Rule 1 is that “a weapon must always be treated as if it is loaded” and rule 2 is “never point or let the barrel of a weapon point at anything you do not want to destroy”.
Mr Zemmour has not officially declared that he will run for the French presidency in April, but polls show he enjoys enormous popularity among the far right.
In scenes posted on social media, Mr. Zemmour can be seen wielding a sniper rifle at journalists at an arms fair in Paris, without carrying out any security checks. Pictured: Still from a video of the Paris arms fair incident showing Zemmour looking at the scope of the rifle before pointing it at the press on Wednesday
He has two convictions for spreading hatred against ethnic and religious minorities, and regularly accuses immigrants of being the root of all of modern France’s problems.
Marine Le Pen, of the far-right Rassemblement national party, was runner-up to Emmanuel Macron in the May 2017 presidential election, but her vote could be eclipsed by Mr. Zemmour next year.
Mr. Zemmour is an admirer of former US President Donald Trump and positions himself as an anti-elite and anti-immigration champion.
He frequently criticizes the mainstream media for “fake news”, although he frequently appears on television and writes articles and books.
Like Trump, he has long been critical of the establishment media and hopes to build a political coalition of white working class voters and wealthy conservatives.
Beyond the media, Mr. Zemmour cites French justice and ethnic minorities as “enemies”, calling for control of their powers.
Polls currently show Macron leading in the first round of the presidential election, beating two far-right candidates, National Rally leader Le Pen and maverick Zemmour, whose rise in popularity has altered the dynamics of the election.
Polls currently show French President Emmanuel Macron (pictured in Poitiers, western France on October 8, 2021) leading the first round of the presidential election
A recent poll showed Zemmour was eclipsing traditional French far-right chef Marine Le Pen (pictured left). In the race for the LR ticket, polls show that Michel Barnier (photo on the right) is following Xavier Bertrand
A recent poll showed Zemmour eclipsed traditional French far-right leader Marine Le Pen in next year’s first round of elections, but then lost to centrist President Emmanuel Macron.
In the race for the LR ticket, polls show that Michel Barnier follows Xavier Bertrand, a former center-right minister, and by a narrower margin Valérie Pecresse, president of the Paris region, who both left LR after the victory by Macron in 2017.
However, Barnier’s popularity is growing among base LR members who will vote for their party’s candidate, and see him – also a former government minister – as a former loyalist as he has never left the party.