French far-right leader Le Pen draws protests in Oxford

5th February 2015, Comments 0 comments

Several hundred demonstrators protested against an appearance by French far-right leader Marine Le Pen at Britain's prestigious Oxford Union debating society on Thursday.

Protesters held up placards with slogans such as "Le Pen never again" and "Oxford Union is offering a platform for fascists", an AFP reporter at the scene said.

The demonstrations came ahead of a planned address by Le Pen to the Oxford Union, a society for students attending Oxford University in southern England.

Le Pen is the leader of France's National Front.

She took over the reins of the far-right party from her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2011 and is widely expected to make a bid for the French presidency in 2017 elections.

Le Pen has proved herself a wily political operator who softened the xenophobic extremist image the party had held under her father and broadened its appeal. The party made gains in both local and European elections last year.

Past speakers at the Oxford Union include former British prime ministers Winston Churchill and Tony Blair, as well as US presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

© 2015 AFP

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