The right-wing Front National had an unprecedented level of electoral success this weekend and knocked off several mayors of the ruling Socialist party in local elections held on Sunday.
That didn’t sit well with the Socialist Party’s base and several individuals took to the streets to battle police and try to attack Front National campaign offices in two resort towns in Southern France. Riot police have also mobilized in other parts of the country due to violent threats made against FN officials, The Daily Mail reports.
The towns of Bezier and Frejus are expected to have candidates from the FN take over as mayors of their respective municipalities. Left-wing protesters took to the streets immediately after the results were announced and attempted to attack members of the Front National and the town halls of the cities.
“Demonstrators are trying to get at the Front representatives and starting fights,” a police spokesman in Frejus told The Daily Mail.
Riot police spent the night guarding the town halls of both cities as protesters continue to demonstrate against the right-wing nationalist party.
The elections are considered to be a stunning blow to current French president Francois Hollande’s left-wing governing coalition and indicates that voters in France are protesting the Socialist party platform by voting for FN, which is considered by some to be an extremist party that promotes xenophobia and intolerance.
One of the few bright spots for the Socialist party in Sunday’s election was one of its candidates becoming the first female mayor of Paris.
FN supports immigration restrictions and is critical of the European Union — which are policies that are considered on the right in Europe. The party reaped the benefits of disapproval with the current government by gaining a majority of positions in eleven cities and party now holds over a thousand city councilor positions throughout France.
The party’s leader, Marine Le Pen, had a strong showing in the 2012 presidential elections and carried 18% of the electorate in the first round of voting — the largest percentage for the nationalist party in its history.