French far right attack choice of mixed-race girl for Joan of Arc role
23 Feb 2018
A French state prosecutor has opened an inquiry into incitement to racial hatred after the selection of a mixed-race teenager to play the folk heroine Joan of Arc in annual festivities in Orléans was met with racist abuse from far-right users of social media. The announcement was met with a stream of posts on Twitter and far-right websites, branding her selection an exercise in “diversity propaganda” and an attempt to rewrite history. “Joan of Arc was white,” read one Twitter post. “We are white and proud of being white, don’t change our history.” Joan of Arc, who was burned at the stake in 1431, is a heroine for many in France but is particularly venerated by the far right as a symbol of national resistance.
Marine Le Pen: From far-right fringe to presidential contender
20 Apr 2017
In France, the National Front has gone from fringe party status, condemned as bigoted and racist, to having the presidential palace in its sights. The woman who has led them there is Marine Le Pen. The 48-year-old has consistently been one of the top two candidates in opinion polls as French voters head into the first round of voting this Sunday. "Marine Le Pen is our Joan of Arc. She's the one who is going to save France, bring France back up, give hope to French people."
Marine Le Pen hails patriotism as the policy of the future
21 Jan 2017
French National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen has told a meeting of right-wing politicians in Germany that patriotism is the policy of the future. The presidential candidate predicted that voters in France, Germany and the Netherlands would follow their US and UK counterparts to reject the arguments of the political establishment. She said that 2017 would be the "year of the awakening" for European people.
French parties battle for Joan of Arc's legacy
11 Apr 2015
A new museum chronicling the life and legacy of Joan of Arc has opened in Rouen, France. The 15th century teenager was burned as a heretic after helping repulse the English army at Orleans, making her a national heroine. Now political parties from the far-right to the ruling Socialists are battling to claim her legacy.
National Front in patriotic fervor
01 May 2014
Every year on May Day the far right in France marches to the statue of Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc) on the right bank in Paris, to lay a wreath. The Maid of Orleans is the adopted symbol of French nationalism - though right now there's another they have taken to their hearts. She's the National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen. In the spirit of Jeanne d'Arc the backdrop for the traditional May Day speech was a picture of a woman dressed in a suit of armor. "No to Brussels, Yes to France" read the slogan.
French elections: Battle over 1 May
01 May 2012
French labor historian Stephane Sirot explains that more recent attempts to appropriate the day include the far-right National Front's decision, from 1988, to hold an annual 1 May rally. The idea was to make the day a nationalistic display of patriotism by linking it to the powerful figure of Joan of Arc.