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Le Pen's May Day speech clouded by Femen activists, family feud

France's far-right National Front political party leader Marine Le Pen waves during her May Day speech in front of the Paris Opera
France's far-right National Front political party leader Marine Le Pen waves during her May Day speech in front of the Paris Opera

France’s leadership has “unpinned the Islamic fundamentalist grenade,” the head of France's far-right Front National said in a May Day speech in central Paris Friday.

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Marine Le Pen spoke for nearly an hour and lambasted "the blindness and impotence" of the current government, taking aim at French President Francois Hollande and former president Nicolas Sarkozy, the leader of the UMP who is planning to run again for the French presidency in 2017.

“They have allowed massive immigration to install itself in France," she told supporters in front of the Paris Opera, making references to an Algerian student recently arrested and accused of planning an attack against at least one church near the French capital.

She also expressed concern over the "widespread surveillance of all of the French", speaking of a new intelligence bill to be voted on in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

Before Le Pen began her speech, her father Jean-Marie, the party’s founder, unexpectedly took to the podium amid a cheering crowd but did not make any statements.

Jean-Marie Le Pen is to appear before the party’s executive committee on 4 May over remarks about the Nazi gas chambers and Marshall Philippe Pétain's collaborationist government during World War II. The disciplinary hearing was called on by his daughter Marine, who had also asked him to step aside in regional elections.

Jean-Marie Le Pen did not march at the side of his daughter Friday or have a place on stage during her speech.

Marine Le Pen was also interrupted by three Femen activists with the slogans “Heil Le Pen” and “Stop Fascism” written on their bare breasts. The protesting women, who used a bullhorn to drown out her speech decrying immigration, were later arrested.

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