Martes, 19 Marcha, 2019

2 arrested for planning 'violent attack' in run-up to French election

Official: French police thwart attack days before election Two held in France on suspicion of planning attack during election: Sources
Eleena Tovar | 19 Abril, 2017, 07:37

French authorities have found guns and bomb-making materials after the arrest of two men suspected of plotting an "imminent" attack five days before the first round of the presidential election, Interior Minister Matthias Fekl said on Monday.

The two suspects, aged 23 and 29, were detained in the southern port city of Marseille.

"They had the aim of committing in the very short term, in other words in the very next days, an attack on French soil".

Ahead of Sunday's first-round election, Le Pen told RTL radio on Tuesday she would issue an order to immediately stop issuing long-term visas for two weeks so the government can verify that they are not taking jobs away from French citizens.

Candidates on the right have been especially vocal, seeking to appeal to voters traumatized by Islamic State group-inspired attacks that have killed at least 235 people in France since January 2015, by far the largest casualty figure of any Western country.

In their Marseille apartment police found one automatic rifle, two handguns, quantities of ammunitions and three kilograms of explosives as well as products and equipment to make explosives, Molins said.

Security has already been a strong campaign theme, and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen hardened her tone Tuesday on foreign extremists and border controls while centrist Emmanuel Macron called for national unity and stronger intelligence.

Ms Le Pen said the choice for French voters was between her rivals' "savage globalisation" and her patriotism. "Mass immigration is not an opportunity for France, it's a tragedy for France", Le Pen told her supporters. The upcoming election will be the first since 1965 - when the current voting system was put in place - to be held under emergency laws.

Polls show Le Pen is among four leading French candidates, with no clear front-runner.

"We have been caught in tear gas, we have had bricks thrown at us, one member of the press had his camera taken off of him and thrown on the floor", she said, adding that fires also erupted.

Analysts also say there is a growing danger of a high abstention rate affecting the result, possibly tipping the scales in favour of Fillon.

"The behaviour of people who are now planning not to vote is a major factor".

"It is one of the unknowns of a vote that has many unknowns".

Having led the polls at the turn of the year, the scandal hit his support hard.