Marine Le Pen said she was the only viable voice of the nation in the face of Sarkozy and Hollande, who she described as the candidates of “globalisation, immigration and insecurity”. “People of France, give Nicolas Sarkozy a red card! Get him definitively off the pitch,” Le Pen said as 2,000 National Front supporters cheered, brandishing red cards and French flags.
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen switched her presidential campaign back to immigration on Sunday, accusing Nicolas Sarkozy of bowing to Muslim pressure over how animals are killed for meat, to try to head off his attempts to poach her supporters.
Le Pen had sought to attract voters by shifting from a traditional emphasis on immigration and French identity to leaving the euro and imposing protectionist barriers, to exploit discontent over the debt crisis in Europe and globalisation.
But at a congress of her National Front party in Lille, Le Pen returned to familiar anti-immigration territory, saying she had proof that all meat in Paris was halal – killed by cutting the animal’s throat and letting its blood drain out.
“This situation is deception and the government has been fully aware of it for months,” Le Pen said. “All the abattoirs of the Paris region have succumbed to the rules of a minority. We have reason to be disgusted.”
Le Pen’s aides said she would file a legal complaint on the matter. During her closing speech she said the government was bowing down to “Islamic radicals”.
The main meat industry association, Interbev, denied the allegation, saying the vast majority of the meat in Paris was not slaughtered under halal practices, but the episode showed Le Pen was trying to win back wavering voters.