French far-right leader Zemmour under fire from Bataclan tirade – .

French far-right leader Zemmour under fire from Bataclan tirade – .

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PARIS, France – French far-right presidential candidate Eric Zemmour was criticized Sunday for delivering a scathing attack on ex-President François Hollande’s migration policy during commemorations for the Paris attacks of November 2015.

Zemmour, an ultra-nationalist television expert who has made no secret of his desire to run in the April presidential elections, made the remarks during a Saturday night visit to the Bataclan theater in Paris, where 90 spectators were massacred in a series of coordinated attacks. through the French capital on November 13, 2015.

The attacks, which killed 130 people in total, were carried out by a cell of 10 Islamic State (IS) men, mostly French and Belgian nationals, some of whom had traveled to Syria to join ISIS and returned to France to conduct operations. attacks.

Speaking to reporters outside the Bataclan, Zemmour, 63, who is Jewish, accused then-French socialist president Hollande of “criminal” negligence for failing to detect the attackers who slipped into Europe among a massive influx of Syrian migrants.

“He knew there would be terrorists and did not protect the French and took the criminal decision to leave the borders open,” said Zemmour, who votes strongly on an anti-Islam and anti-immigration platform. , although he has yet to officially announce his candidacy.

The veteran former political journalist argued that even French attackers “would have been arrested” if France, where jihadists had slaughtered a group of cartoonists 10 months earlier, had closed its borders.

Former French President Francois Hollande, center, arrives at the special courtroom to testify at the trial of the November 2015 attacks on November 10, 2021, in Paris. (AP Photo / Michel Euler)

Hollande, who was called to testify this week in the trial of 20 people charged with bloodshed, including the only surviving ISIS cell behind the attacks, Salah Abdeslam, accused Zemmour of an attack “Unfounded, obscene and shameful”.

“It’s obscene to be in front of the Bataclan and talk about a war of civilization,” Hollande told a Jewish community radio station, Radio J, referring to Zemmour’s characterization of the attacks.

Survivors and relatives of victims of the Paris attacks also denounced Zemmour for having been involved in politics on the anniversary of the massacre.

Arthur Denouveaux, survivor of the Bataclan attack and at the head of the association of victims Life for Paris, accused Zemmour of acting as a “grave profaner”.

A French policeman stands guard in front of the Bataclan concert hall in Paris on November 12, 2016, during the concert of British musician Sting on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Paris attacks of November 13. (AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE LOPEZ)

“We are very outraged by this political exploitation of victims of terrorism,” he said in a statement shared on Twitter.

Zemmour competes with the leader of the National Rally Marine Le Pen for the leadership of the French nationalist right.

Some polls show he overtakes her to become Macron’s main rival.

Others show that Le Pen, 53, is still the most likely to defeat majority right and left candidates for a second-round berth against Macron – as she did in 2017.

All polls currently show Macron, 43, who has yet to announce he is seeking re-election but is expected to do so, winning a second term.

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