Friday, 5 May 2017

French election: Security alerts as campaigning ends

Separate security alerts in and around Paris have marred the final day of campaigning ahead of Sunday's French presidential election.

A suspected radical Islamist possessing weapons and a pledge of allegiance to IS was arrested north of the capital.

And Greenpeace activists scaled the Eiffel Tower to unfurl a banner, sparking an emergency police meeting.

Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron will take on far-right rival, Marine Le Pen, in Sunday's final round of the poll.

Various opinion polls have suggested a lead of 20 percentage points or more for Mr Macron.

The man arrested in Evreux, north-west of Paris, was a convert to Islam who had been under close surveillance since 2014 because of radicalisation.

Le Monde said he was a 34-year-old former soldier who was detained near an airbase.

A USB stick with a pledge of allegiance to so-called Islamic State, a copy of the Koran and IS flags were found in his car, sources said.

Two revolvers, a shotgun and ammunition were later found hidden close to the base.

Three days before the first round of voting on 23 April, police officer Xavier Jugelé was killed by convicted criminal Karim Cheurfi while on duty on the Champs Elysées. IS claimed to be behind that attack.

BBC    News.