French far-right creates first cracks in 'national unity' after Charlie Hebdo massacre

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The government, the Left and most leaders on the Right have joined calls for “national unity” or a form of national union as the French nation collectively mourned those killed in Wednesday's murderous attack on the magazine Charlie Hebdo. Senior figures across the political spectrum will also take part in Sunday's 'Republican march' in Paris as an act of solidarity. But already some politicians on the hard right, and notably those in the far-right Front National (FN), have raised doubts about the national consensus. In particular the FN's president Marine Le Pen has reacted angrily to the fact that so far she has not been invited to the weekend march. As Mathieu Magnaudeix and Marine Turchi report, the far-right has in fact already started to play on the fears of French citizens in the wake of the massacre.

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Flags at half-mast and a moving minute's silence across France – and in many other countries too – on Thursday showed the depth of emotion, grief and shock felt after Wednesday's bloody massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris. From Left to Right, politicians queued up to heed President François Hollande’s repeated calls for the nation to “unite” after the killings that left 12 people dead.

On Sunday, meanwhile, representatives from across the Left, including the Socialist Party, the Greens and the French Communist Party, will take part in Sunday's 'Republican march' in Paris, as will former president and head of the main right-wing opposition UMP party Nicolas Sarkozy, who was personally invited by prime minister Manuel Valls, and members of the centrist UDI. The march had been scheduled for Saturday but so many different associations wanted to take part that it was decided to put it back 24 hours. The one dissonant note came from Marine Le Pen, president of the far-right Front National, who said that as of Thursday afternoon she has not been invited, and who suggested that talk of a “national union” was perhaps little more than “pathetic” manoeuvring against her party and its voters.