Le Pen sees immigration problem in subway riot

30th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

SAINT-CLOUD, France, March 30, 2007 (AFP) - French far-right presidential candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen charged Friday that a riot in a Paris train station this week showed French cities had become unstable due to "mass immigration".

SAINT-CLOUD, France, March 30, 2007 (AFP) - French far-right presidential candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen charged Friday that a riot in a Paris train station this week showed French cities had become unstable due to "mass immigration".

About 100 youths rioted for more than seven hours on Tuesday at the Gare du Nord station after police arrested a fare-dodger, reviving memories of the three weeks of suburbun unrest that exploded across the nation in late 2005.

"This shows that the situation is unstable" in French urban areas, Le Pen told a media conference with the foreign press corps. "The cause is obviously, on the one hand, mass immigration, and all of the problems that this entails: problems at school, unemployment, housing etc," he argued.

The 74-year-old National Front leader is in fourth position in the polls behind right-wing frontrunner Nicolas Sarkozy, Socialist Segolene Royal and centrist Francois Bayrou whose campaigns for the April 22 vote were hijacked by debate about security following the clashes.

"They say that security is making a forced entry into the election campaign," said Le Pen, "but these issues are on the minds of the French."

A CSA poll released Friday showed Le Pen had gained two points in voting intentions for the first round, with 15 percent support.

Sarkozy still leads with 26 percent of votes, followed by Royal at 24.5 percent and Bayrou at 19.5 percent of vote. A run-off between the two leading candidates is scheduled for May 6.

Le Pen, who stunned the nation when he qualified for the second round in the 2002 presidential election, is calling for a halt to immigration and for social benefits to be cut off for foreigners living in France.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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