Translated by Kristina Wischenkamper and Bill Scoble.
After the retaking of the Bastille on 18 March by a mass of 120,000 people, the Left Front struck another blow on Tuesday evening. Some 23,000 people attended presidential candidate Jean-Luc MĂ©lenchonâ€™s meeting in Lille . 15,000 inside the packed-out Grand Palace, and 8,000 outside.
"The river has broken its banks and no matter what happens, the flood isnâ€™t going to recede any time soon," announced the Left Front candidate to a sea of red flags chanting "Resistance! Resistance!"
"Getting the NF out of the limelight"
"The battle that excites me now is getting the National Front out of the limelight. If Iâ€™m in front of Marine le Pen, ours will be the first country in Europe to push back the far right," MĂ©lenchon told the press in the cortĂ¨ge. He went on to welcome having "derailed the DE-demonization" of the National Front, and pointed to the failure of NFâ€™s attempt to appropriate the dramas of Montauban and Toulouse for its own political purposes.
An excerpt from the press conference: Or click here
"We have been the most valiant defenders of fellowship. France has won a huge victory: the serial killer achieved nothing, and neither did the jackals of the National Front." "Itâ€™s we who are dangerous," joked Jean-Luc MĂ©lenchon, alluding to the words of Francois Hollande, who had not wished to appear "dangerous" during his trip to London. Before the crowd in Lille, he "solemnly" requested the Socialist candidate "to end his air of saying â€™since Iâ€™m ahead in the polls, Iâ€™ll do what I want.â€™ "
"Donâ€™t start messing with us!"
MĂ©lenchon regretted, for example, that the PS had still not responded to his call to discuss those constituencies where the Left is at risk of being eliminated in the first round of voting for the legislative elections should there be multiple candidates from the Left.
Furthermore he called JĂ©rome Cahuzac a liar, the Socialist president of the National Assemblyâ€™s Finance Committee who had spoken of an "agreement" between the PS and the PG to give MĂ©lenchonâ€™s friends "a few constituencies where they might hope to gain votes". "Donâ€™t mess with us, be polite with us. Show some respect to the Left Front; weâ€™re not for sale," said MĂ©lenchon to huge applause.
"We are a force to be reckoned with. Just imagine the number of our deputies that will be elected!".