sexta-feira, 3 de fevereiro de 2017
Because of the embarrassing question: guards Marine Le Pen attack on jou...
Nous souhaitions simplement savoir si le garde du corps de Marine Le Pen avait eu un emploi fictif au Parlement européen ou non. #Quotidien
Marine Le Pen vs the media
Viral video shows guards manhandling reporter after he questioned the far-right leader.
By NICHOLAS VINOCUR 2/2/17, 3:59 PM CET Updated 2/2/17, 4:32 PM CET
PARIS — In Marine Le Pen’s vicinity, asking the wrong question can get you locked in a wrestling hold and hustled out of the room.
A video showing a TV journalist being manhandled by Le Pen’s security detail after he asked her about a parliamentary funds scandal went viral Thursday, highlighting the often fraught relationship between the press, National Front security and the party as a whole.
In the clip, a journalist for Quotidien, a satirical news show, asks Le Pen about allegations that she abused European Parliament funds by using assistants employed by the assembly to carry out party work in France, notably her bodyguard Thierry Légier.
The clip then shows a member of the security detail pinning the journalist’s arms behind his back and escorting him forcefully out of the room, where Le Pen was attending a Paris entrepreneurship conference.
With cameras rolling, the altercation continued outside as the journalist, Paul Larrouturou, protested his eviction. Two security agents were filmed swatting at cameras and warning the journalist and his crew to be quiet and stay out.
The two agents are not part of the Front’s private security service but were employed by the conference, tweeted National Front Vice President Florian Philippot. Other National Front sources told Agence France-Presse that the party had not given instructions to remove the journalist.
“Why would we sit down with the enemy? It’s a waste of our time” — Florian Philippot
However, the incident had a precedent. Journalists from the investigative news site Mediapart and newspaper Le Monde have been threatened in the past by associates of Le Pen. And a journalist for another French paper, who asked not to be named because he is still covering the party, said he had been intimidated by security agents at a conference in southern France for trying to interview rank-and-file activists on video, with members of the Front’s private security placing themselves between him and his subject. In addition to state-appointed security, which Le Pen has because of her high profile, she employs a permanent private bodyguard, Légier.
The 1.90-meter, 97 kg former army paratrooper, whose shaved head is a familiar sight at Le Pen’s public appearances, has been with the party for decades, having previously guarded Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie. He is officially employed as Marine Le Pen’s parliamentary assistant — a position that investigators looking into her use of parliamentary funds suspect may not be genuine.
The Front also uses a private security service, known as the Département de Sécurité et de Protection (DPS), who run the show at all their gatherings. Using the motto “Honor and Loyalty,” many have a military background while being party sympathizers. At a recent gathering, two could be heard speaking Russian, and told POLITICO they were former members of the Foreign Legion.
While controversial in the past, the DPS is largely respected by journalists for handling security with an even hand. In one recent case, they protected a group of Canal+ journalists who were being threatened by activists at the party’s annual May 1 gathering in Paris.
However, relations between media and the party have grown increasingly fraught over the past six months as France’s presidential election draws near.
In addition to barring Mediapart and Quotidien from its events due to what the Front calls their “crusade” against the party, Front officials frequently “freeze out” reporters whom they consider too critical of the party. Le Pen, Philippot, party vice president Louis Aliot and campaign director David Rachline, the inner circle of her presidential campaign, stand out as being especially standoffish and uncooperative.
“They have gotten into this ‘us and against you’ mindset” — Veteran French reporter
“Relations with the senior leadership have become very, very difficult in the past few months,” one French reporter who has followed the Front for years said, asking not to be named to avoid making his job even harder. “They have started to see us as the enemy … When you ask them a question, they have gotten into the habit of answering in a caustic or sarcastic way, with no real desire to inform.”
Despite almost daily appearances on broadcast media, top Front officials avoid print journalists. Philippot, asked by one reporter why he declined to answer basic questions or grant off-the-record chats that are a common practice in the Parisian political scene, was cited as having said: “Why would we sit down with the enemy? It’s a waste of our time.”
When reached, top officials are increasingly short-tempered. “I’ve got no time to help you with your polemics and calumnies,” one National Front MEP told a POLITICO reporter when asked about an aspect of the parliamentary funds scandal, before hanging up the phone.
“They have gotten into this ‘us and against you’ mindset that is a bit like what we see in the United States during the campaign of [US president] Donald Trump,” said the first reporter cited, who works for a major daily news outlet. “There is a form of paranoia setting in.”