Clashes outside French far-right leader's rally

  • 09/04/2017
Marine Le Pen (Reuters)
Marine Le Pen (Reuters)

Skirmishes have broken out ahead of a campaign rally by French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, prompting the removal of more than a dozen protesters and the evacuation of the hall in Ajaccio, Corsica.

Latest polls ahead of the April-May French presidential election show the race tightening, with Ms Le Pen - leader of the anti-immigrant National Front - neck-and-neck with centrist Emmanuel Macron, who is expected to beat her in the runoff.

Around 50 people demonstrated in front of the venue in Ajaccio on Saturday, chanting "We do not want the National Front", according to local newspaper Corse Matin.

Some of them managed to enter the hall where Ms Le Pen was expected to speak. They clashed with Ms Le Pen's security team and fired teargas, prompting the evacuation of the hall, the newspaper said.

The event was moved to another venue, French television BFM TV said.

Ms Le Pen's campaign manager David Rachline said on Twitter that local authorities had not done enough to secure the venue and had allowed far-left "militia" to come too close.

Mr Rachline said a National Front activist was seriously injured during the clashes.