France far right: Le Pen says skinheads not welcome

Marine Le Pen speaks at National Front  headquarters in Nanterre, west of Paris, 21 February Marine Le Pen succeeded her father as National Front leader in January

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The new leader of France's National Front, Marine Le Pen, has barred skinheads from the far right's annual May Day march in Paris.

She confirmed for French radio she was banning "trouble-makers" from the first march to be held since she took over from her father Jean-Marie in January.

"They draw cameras like flies and naturally we would protect ourselves from such provocations," she said.

Opinion polls suggest support for her party has grown since she took over.

Speaking to RTL radio on Wednesday, the National Front leader said: "We have in the past been the victim of a certain number of publicity-seeking troublemakers, and it still happens."

She confirmed an instruction had been sent out to the party's regional organisations to prevent skinheads joining Sunday's "great patriotic march" in the French capital.

"Marine Le Pen has warned that anything resembling a 'skinhead' in any shape or form will be excluded by all necessary means," a copy of the instruction circulated in the Moselle region said.

"All types of combat fatigues are excluded."

Skinheads - people who choose to have heads shaven clean - have been associated mainly, though not exclusively, with the far right in France and Europe for decades.

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