March 31, 2014
Fights started outside French town halls tonight as they came under the control of the far-right National Front for the first time following dramatic gains in local elections.
Exit polls suggested that the anti-immigration and anti-Europe party had roundly beaten the governing Socialists in a number of key constituencies.
'Demonstrators are trying to get at the Front representatives and starting fights,' said a police spokesman in Frejus, the picturesque Mediterranean town which is hugely popular with British tourists.
Frejus and nearby Beziers are now expected to have National Front (FN) mayors sworn in, along with around five other towns, following a nationwide drubbing for President Francois Hollande's Socialists.
Riot police were also out in force in other parts of the country as anti-fascist demonstrators threatened FN candidates with violence.
It meant further humiliation for Mr Hollande, whose disastrous tax and spend policies have led to economic stagnation, so opening the electoral door to the FN, which is regularly accused of being racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-Muslim.