A man grabbed French far-right presidential candidate Eric Zemmour as he moved through the crowd towards the stage during his first political rally on Sunday (December 5).
The man lunged and grabbed Zemmour briefly by the neck before being tackled by security and later put in custody by police.
Although Zemmour went on to deliver his speech, his team said afterwards that he had been injured in the incident and a doctor had ordered a nine-day rest, Le Monde newspaper reported.
At the rally, Zemmour promised a “reconquest” against decades of decline. He said he was calling his party “Reconquest,” a name that evokes the historic period known as the Reconquista, when Christian forces drove Muslim rulers from the Iberian peninsula.
With echoes of Donald Trump’s first campaign for U.S. president, Zemmour promised to slash immigration and taxes to cheers from flag-waving supporters that organisers put at 15,000. A Reuters count put their number at around 10,000.
Zemmour, who has been convicted for inciting racial hatred, is the main challenger to long-time far-right figure Marine Le Pen for a place in a second run-off round of next April’s election, most likely against President Emmanuel Macron.
Known for provocative statements against Islam and immigration, he has won support away from both Le Pen’s voter base but also the mainstream conservative right.