Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s nationalist-populist opposition, is in danger of significant legal consequences over a series of tweets from December 2015, as prosecutors pressure for a trial.
If the trail occurs, the accusation would be “circulating violent pictures liable to be seen by children,” a charge which carries the possibility of up to three years in prison, and a fine of €75,000 ($85,000). If prosecutors get their way, another member of her party, Gilbert Collard, would also be tried for similar charges.
Le Pen tweeted several gruesome images of ISIS violence captioned “Daesh is this!” in December 2015, not long after jihadist attacks in Paris killed 130 people, in response to a journalist who compared her party to the terror group.
Her party, the National Rally (formerly National Front), often slandered as far-right despite her tireless rehabilitation of its image, is one of Europe’s foremost nationalist-populist groups and the only genuine right-wing opposition in France to the socialist left and to globalists like the current president, Emmanuel Macron, a former banker. Le Pen reached the second round of French presidential elections in 2017, the second time the party’s candidate had done so, losing to Macron but receiving a third of the vote, a significant increase from previous milestones.
Since then, however, Macron’s centrist/globalist government, initially eagerly acclaimed as the antidote to the nationalist popular revolt sweeping Europe and the US, has come under siege from the Yellow Vests (“Gilet-Jaunes”), a people’s protest movement ignited by Macron’s neoliberal extremism and personal arrogance. Boasting that unlike previous presidents, he would never bow to the people, Macron moved to repeal a wealth tax, cut pensions, reform labor and tax codes, cozy up to Merkel and the EU, and – the final straw – increase the tax on fuel. The mass of peripheral France to whom the wannabe-monarch had been persistently insensible took to the streets, where they remain for the 16th week straight, supported by 70% of French public opinion and despite violent police crackdowns.
As Macron’s popularity cratered, Le Pen’s and the National Rally’s has risen, with recent polls giving her a higher approval rating than Macron, whom Le Pen has chided as sorely needing to ‘get out of the presidential palace’ and notice the ‘people’s suffering.’
Le Pen has harshly condemned the attempted prosecution of her freedom of speech, as the French state seems intent to hang her with 3-year-old tweets at the same time as the newest purported savior of neoliberalism goes up in flames. Let us hope the French resistance to globalism does not tire, and leaders like Le Pen can take the helm and save their nation.