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for Jean-Luc Mélenchon, « banning Eric Zemmour is a bad idea » – RT in French

Reacting to the initiative of the president of Seine-Saint-Denis aimed at preventing the holding of the meeting of Eric Zemmour scheduled for Villepinte on December 5, Jean-Luc Mélenchon judged, on BFMTV, this method contrary to democratic principles.

« Banning Eric Zemmour is a bad idea, » said the leader of La France insoumise on BFMTV on December 3. He was reacting to the new controversy around the editorialist, now an official candidate, who planned to hold a first campaign meeting at the Villepinte exhibition center on December 5, after having given up organizing it in the capital.

But the socialist president of the Seine-Saint-Denis region, Stéphane Troussel, opposes it and launched, on December 2, a petition (which would have collected 2,000 signatures) and a site to counter the « revolting symbol » that represents according to him the meeting of Eric Zemmour, qualified as « gravedigger of the Republic ». According to Stéphane Troussel, the company that owns the park, Viparis, signed a corporate diversity charter in 2009. Commitments « absolutely incompatible with the reception of a polemicist who […] is now leading a campaign whose only basis is racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, hatred of Muslims, ”he said. Support of Anne Hidalgo, the elected justified his petition by wanting to « challenge a company », and specified that he was not « intended to ban the meeting of Eric Zemmour ».

« The principle of democracy is also to listen to what you dislike »

An approach condemned by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, for whom it is not by « prohibiting a meeting that one pushes back ideas ». Recalling that « the principle of democracy is also to listen to what you dislike », he questioned the motivations of Stéphane Troussel: « If it is because of the opinions of Mr. Zemmour, he is wrong », he argued, noting that only « a risk of disturbing public order » may justify banning a meeting.

The position of the left-wing candidate is not unanimous within his own camp: Clémentine Autain, LFI deputy for Seine-Saint-Denis, also asked for the cancellation of this public meeting, by sending a letter to the Viparis company and by making reference, like Stéphane Troussel, to the charter signed by the company. The arrival of Eric Zemmour in Seine-Saint-Denis is, according to the elected official, « an additional insult to its inhabitants, privileged targets of his xenophobic speeches and steeped in class contempt », recalling that the candidate had qualified the department of « foreign enclave ».

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who also planned to hold a meeting on December 5, but at the Defense, wishes to position himself frontally against Eric Zemmour and the LR candidate who will have been invested the day before. The newspaper Release, which raised the question of a preliminary discussion between the teams of Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Eric Zemmour to avoid an overlap in speaking times on December 5 (one speaks at 2:30 p.m., the other at 4 p.m.), was told by someone close to the rebellious leader that « it is false, we do not discuss with Zemmour ”, whereas the communicator of the candidate of the extreme right, Olivier Ubéda, would have indicated, on the contrary, that discussions had taken place.

Be that as it may, Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s position aimed at allowing Eric Zemmour to hold his meetings freely stands out within the left, worried about the growing audience of right-wing and far-right ideas, and divided on how to oppose it.

During its parliamentary niche on December 2, the French Communist Party thus tabled a motion for a resolution « aimed at combating the trivialization of hate speech in public debate », by rendering ineligible those convicted of incitement to hatred. A text that targeted, without naming him, Eric Zemmour, and which was rejected by 32 votes against, 22 for and one abstention. On the side of the unions and « antifas », the change of venue for Eric Zemmour’s meeting will have no impact on the demonstration « Paris will silence Zemmour », scheduled in the capital on December 5, in particular at the call of the CGT, Solidaires and the Young Guard. The route is planned between Barbès and La Villette.

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