National Front thugs mount anti-Jewish attack in Paris

Marine Le Pen

Marine Le Pen

A well-known French journalist has accused the right wing National Front party of allowing racist speech to be used "freely" after she and her partner were targeted by anti-Jewish thugs.

Audrey Pulvar was in Paris' s 16th district on Monday evening with Arnaud Montebourg, a leading figure in France's Socialist opposition party. The couple were leaving a restaurant when a crowd began throwing glasses at them, and shouting "Juden, Juden, Juden" (German for Jew).

The attackers also shouted shouted "France for the French" and claimed: "Jean-Marie Le Pen has given us the midnight permission to hunt the Jews in Paris".

Mr Le Pen was the founder of the National Front party, and he remains notorious in France for stating that the Nazi gas chambers were simply a "detail" in the history of the Second World War. His daughter, Marine Le Pen, is running for the French presidency, which will be voted on later this year.

Ms Le Pen said she condemned the incident, but critics have argued that she is unwilling to challenge extremist elements within her party.

"You cannot consider, before the police have done their work, that these people are people from the National Front," she said.

Ms Pulvar said her experience indicated that there was "a climate within Mrs Le Pen's (National Front) where racist speech is made freely".

Francois Hollande, the Socialist leader, added: "It is unacceptable to attack a person for his ideas and to do it in a cowardly manner with shouts, insults, with glasses thrown and with remarks that border on antisemitism and racism."

Last updated: 10:48am, March 2 2012