Reporter attacked at Marine Le Pen party

By Michel Zlotowski, January 20, 2011
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Aa journalist for TV news channel France 24, was assaulted and suffered antisemitic abuse while reporting on the election of Marine Le Pen to the presidency of the extreme-right National Front party last weekend.

Mickael Szames said he was taking snapshots of Ms Le Pen dancing with her father at a post-election cocktail party when he was attacked by security guards.

Reporting the next morning on France 24, Mr Szames said: "Eight FN security officers knocked me to the ground and hit me repeatedly for taking pictures at the reception.

"They later took my cell phone and demanded I delete the pictures, which were of no journalistic value whatsoever. They confiscated my press card and my watch."

Mr Szames also said guards verbally abused him using antisemitic
language.

"You s--t journalist, we'll knock your teeth out," was one of the threats made against him, he said.

Mr Szames later said he filed a lawsuit against the National Front's security detail; the party has since threatened to sue France 24 for reporting on the event.Ms Le Pen, 42, who is succeeding her father, Jean-Marie, 82, denied Mr Szames's version of events, saying he had unlawfully entered a private party and took unauthorised pictures. He was not assaulted but simply ejected from the premises, she inisted.

Mr Le Pen said: "Szames thought he could say that he was expelled because he was Jewish. Well, this wasn't mentioned on his journalist card or on his nose!

"Commenting on her father's remark, Ms Le Pen said he should not have mentioned the reporter's nose, but his forehead.

CRIF, the umbrella organisation representing French Jews, said Mr Le Pen was a source of spite.

    Last updated: 2:12pm, January 20 2011