Provence & Cote D'Azur: An estimated 120 000 people gathered in a political rally in Marseille on staurday, supporting Left Party Leader Jean-Luc Melenchon
Thousands gather in Marseille for Left Party rally
Around 100,000 people flocked to support the radical leftist candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, at a political rally in Marseille on the weekend. The candidate, who has surprised everyone by coming third place in opinion polls, delivered a fiery speech to an adoring crowd.
On Saturday afternoon an abundance of supporters congregated at the Prado beach in Marseille for the open-air rally. “It’s about time we burn the right wing to the ground,” declared Mélanchon. The far left party claimed that a grand total of 120,000 people attended; a similar turnout to the meeting in Bastille in Paris a month ago.
The candidate was welcomed with rapturous applause and chants of ‘Resistence! Resistance!’, before he delivered a one hour and 20 minute speech to flag-waving campaigners and sympathisers, hammering home his slogan of “place au people” and addressing issues of capitalism. “We are the first in Europe to put the red of the flag far in front of the blue,” he said. Mélanchon paid particular attention to Marseille, calling it “the truest French city in the Republic.”
The party leader claimed that he would concentrate on not only creating a higher minimum wage and caps on salaries but also on introducing a higher tax ation of the rich.
The municipality of Marseille had been reluctant to hold the event but the rally was later approved after threats that the party would organise a march through the streets, blocking traffic.
During the meeting, Mélenchon also included a few sarcastic comments about the open-air campaign meetings in Paris, held by front-runners of the election Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande, claiming that they were copying him.
Last week, the left wing presidential candidate surged to third place in opinion polls - one of the biggest surprises of the 2012 election campaign so far.