French Natives in Montreal Voice their Anger Towards the Presidential Elections

Anti-Fascists gather at French consulate to discuss French elections

  • French citizens living in Montreal gathered to oppose far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. Photo Kelsey Litwin

“Ni patrie, ni patron, ni Le Pen, ni Macron” is the slogan that several left-wing French citizens have adopted since the results of the first round of the French presidential election became known.

A small gathering of French citizens living in the city along with non-French people who came as a show of solidarity got together in front of Montreal’s French consulate Monday evening. The meeting was promoted on Nuit Debout’s Facebook page—a French social movement.

They were there to protest far-right candidate Marine Le Pen from the Front National, as well as her second round opponent Emmanuel Macron, a centrist who represents En Marche!.

“I won’t vote for Macron or Le Pen,” said Pauline, a protester who helped organize the gathering and requested to only go by her first name. “But I know that some people here will be voting for Macron against Le Pen. I do think that we have to make the distinction between a vote for Macron and a vote against Le Pen, though.”

The small group of protesters took turns expressing their displeasure with both candidates. Those on the left fear that a Le Pen victory would accelerate the already rapidly rising far-right. They also fear that a Macron victory would enforce a centrist status quo, and would leave the door open for Le Pen to be elected in the next election.

“We’re gathering to talk about the far-right, its ideas and how we can stop it in France,” said a protester who chose to go by her first name, Léa. “On the other hand, a Macron presidency would put lots of people in a very precarious state, as they have been for the last two presidencies.”

One protester, Julien Paniac, mentioned that he was upset that it had to come down to Macron and Le Pen, and even drew a parallel between them and the two options from the U.S Presidential election in November.

“I think that both candidates can be catastrophic as presidents. I’m going to be completely torn about this for the next two weeks,” said Paniac.

Ultimately, the polarizing and divisive nature of this election will leave millions of left-wing French voters, like Paniac, torn. The question is whether they’d consider voting for Macron, the lesser of two evils, to ensure Le Pen and the far-right don’t obtain the power they seek.

“The danger is the accumulation of the far-right,” said Pauline. “That’s why lots of people are going to vote for Macron and against Le Pen. Personally, I won’t be voting for either.”

Before the meeting broke, the protesters wrote messages on brown construction paper that they then taped to the walls of the building that houses the consulate. “Contre le Front National,” “Contre l’extremisme,” and “Luttons contre le FN” were just some of the messages the protesters wrote. A security guard came to take them down before all of them could be put up.

They plan to gather again on Saturday at Bloc Party! Hip Hop Contre Les Frontieres/For Migrant Justice, a rap battle hosted by The Rap Battles For Social Justice. The hope is that they could be a bit more numerous the second time around and that others in attendance can join their cause. Still, they were pleased with the sense of community that a meeting like Monday’s brought, regardless of headcount.

“We’re all here to support each other and we’re all in this fight together,” said Pauline. “Even if only a few of us show up.”

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