French Police Uses Tear Gas to Disperse Students Protesting Against Candidacies of Macron, Le Pen
19:00 GMT 14.04.2022 (Updated: 19:01 GMT 14.04.2022)
© AFP 2022 / JULIEN DE ROSAStudents run away from tear gas fired by riot police forces during a demonstration outside La Sorbonne University, in Paris on April 14, 2022, ten days ahead of the second round of France's presidential election. - Several hundred students mobilised on April 14, 2022 in Paris and Nancy, blocking university buildings to make their voices heard between the two rounds of the presidential election and to raise awareness of ecological and social issues. (Photo by JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP)
The incumbent president and its rival from the National Rally will meet again in the second round of presidential election after finishing closely in the first one. The students insist, however, that neither represents their aspirations even remotely.
Hundreds of students had gathered outside several French universities to protest against the upcoming second round of the presidential election, specifically – against the lack of choice for them. Students, who occupied and blocked some of the buildings in the Sorbonne University in Paris chanted "Sorbonne, Sorbonne, antifa" and "No, no, no to Le Pen or Macron", as Republican Security Corps (CRS) cordoned the protesters at the square Place de la Sorbonne.
Protesters also hung out the banner saying "Sorbonne occupied against Macron, Le Pen and their world".
The CRS started to push the protesting students back from the square at around 1:30pm local time throwing tear gas at the crowd. The students, some of them wearing balaclavas, returned the favour by throwing trash cans, fire extinguishers and furniture, according to the AFP.
"Macron and Le Pen, they do not represent us at all. They are two equally bad options and we are tired of having to choose between the plague and cholera," one of the protesters by the name Clémence told the news agency.
French students protesting against the "false choice" in the second round of the presidential election gathered at other campuses as well. Several dozen protesters barricaded themselves at the Sciences Po Paris campus in Nancy, while around 150 more blocked the entrance at the central building of the university at number 27 Rue Saint Guillaume, where current president Emmanuel Macron used to study.
Protesters were also seen on the premises of the campus of Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS).
"We are going to have five years of ultra-liberalism or fascism. It is a disaster for our generation. We believe that this election and our future have been stolen from us", another protester, who only identified as Eli and who studies philosophy at the Sorbonne University, told the AFP.
According to the AP, many students, who protested against the run-off election, supported the left-leaning candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who ceded the second place to Marine Le Pen by a small margin thus failing to reach the second round.
The margin between Macron and Le Pen was minimal in the first round, which took place on 10 April, with the La République En Marche! Candidate gaining 27.8% of votes and the National Rally presidential hopeful getting 23.1%. The last time in 2017 election Le Pen lost to Macron 33.90% versus 66.10% in runoff election. The second round of this year's election will take place on 24 April.
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