The Latest: French candidate Fillon is doused with flour

AP News
|
Posted: Apr 06, 2017 2:26 PM
The Latest: French candidate Fillon is doused with flour

PARIS (AP) — The Latest on the French presidential election campaign (all times local):

7:20 p.m.

Conservative French presidential candidate Francois Fillon has been doused with flour while arriving at a political meeting in the eastern city of Strasbourg.

A young man wearing a T-shirt marked "Students with Fillon" was seen on BFM TV throwing flour at the candidate Thursday night as Fillon was crossing a crowd of supporters. Fillon's face, shoulders and chest were completely covered with white powder.

Speaking from the meeting's platform a while later, Fillon said the incident was more evidence that he's "the target of a harassment" campaign, adding with a hint of irony: "I hope at least that the flour was French."

Jerome Guedj, spokesman for Socialist candidate Benoit Haman, said he "condemns any manifestation of violence, even symbolic, in this campaign."

Fillon has been embroiled in a corruption scandal for weeks and is regularly greeted by banging pots — a gesture of distain — during his trips.

___

1:40 p.m.

Conservative French presidential candidate Francois Fillon is campaigning for a tougher and more united Europe that can defend itself against violent extremists and unfair trade.

Most of the 11 French presidential candidates are skeptical about the 28-nation European Union, amid growing nationalist sentiment around Europe and Britain's pending exit from the bloc.

But Fillon argued Thursday the EU is "indispensable" to ensure peace and prosperity. He warned that far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen's proposals to leave the EU and the euro currency "would be assured chaos, and the explosion of Europe."

He did say the bloc has become too heavily regulated and needs to "recreate itself." He proposed tougher protection for external borders and tougher EU rules against trade dumping and tax evasion by U.S. or Asian companies.

Fillon was once the front-runner in the presidential race but corruption allegations have hurt his chances in the two-round April 23-May 7 election.

___

10 a.m.

Conservative French presidential candidate Francois Fillon is threatening legal action over leaks that have deeply damaged his campaign — and that he believes came from President Francois Hollande.

Fillon said Thursday on France-Inter radio that he had detailed information about who was behind the leaks about parliamentary jobs he gave his wife and children. He said "when the time comes, I will pursue them" and "those who are at the origin of the affair will not sleep well in the future."

Fillon has been given preliminary charges of embezzlement but denies wrongdoing. On Thursday he reiterated accusations that the Socialist president was linked to the leaks — accusations Hollande has denied.

Fillon was once the front-runner in the race for the April 23-May 7 election, but polls now suggest he would come in third.