- Title: French Leftist leader goes on trial on intimidation charges
- Date: 19th September 2019
- Summary: BOBIGNY, FRANCE (SEPTEMBER 19, 2019) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** LEADER OF FRENCH FAR-LEFT "FRANCE UNBOWED" PARTY, JEAN-LUC MELENCHON, LOOKING ON, AND STANDING WITH FELLOW PARTY MEMBERS UPON ARRIVAL AT BOBIGNY COURTHOUSE FOR TRIAL VARIOUS OF MELENCHON AND ELECTED OFFICIALS FROM HIS PARTY, SURROUNDED BY SUPPORTERS WITH SIGNS VARIOUS OF MELENCHON AND CROWD ARRIVING MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FROM FRANCE UNBOWED PARTY, ALEXIS CORBIERE, SPEAKING TO JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (French) MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FROM FRANCE UNBOWED PARTY, ALEXIS CORBIERE, SAYING: "We are here to voice our arguments, determined and convinced that all this is not normal and disproportionate from the very beginning, including this court hearing. They have to hear out the arguments that would lead each and every one of you to be acquitted, of course, so that everyone could understand that this has been a political case from the beginning. And I invite every citizen to reflect on the way this case has been set in motion."
- Embargoed: 3rd October 2019 10:07
- Keywords: France opposition allegations Emmanuel Macron court trial France Unbowed hearing Jean-Luc Melenchon Bobigny
- Location: BOBIGNY AND PARIS, FRANCE
- City: BOBIGNY AND PARIS, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Judicial Process/Court Cases/Court Decisions
- Reuters ID: LVA001AXBP7BB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon, one of France's main opposition leaders, arrived at a courthouse outside Paris on Thursday (September 19) at the start of his trial on charges of intimidating officials who were investigating him over possible funding irregularities.
The 68-year-old head of La France Insoumise (France Unbowed), famous for his emotional style, has cast the trial as political, saying the aim was to destroy him.
He arrived 45 minutes ahead of time at the court in Bobigny, just outside Paris, without making any statement. He waved to supporters gathered outside the courthouse.
Melenchon, a spearhead of the opposition against French President Emmanuel Macron's economic policies and a supporter of the recent "Yellow vest" anti-government protests, won an unprecedented 19.5 percent in the first round of the 2017 presidential election.
The trial relates to 2018 raids on his home and party offices conducted at the behest of the public prosecutor's office in Paris.
In footage shot by reporters at the scene of the raids, Melenchon and his entourage are seen yelling at the prosecutor and police officers while other supporters were breaking into the premises that had just been sealed off for the search.
Melenchon is on trial with five other people, including two members of parliament from his party.
On the separate funding allegations, prosecutors have launched two preliminary investigations, one into alleged misuse of European parliament funds and the other into suspected funding irregularities in Melenchon's presidential campaign.
(Production: Clotaire Achi, Ardee Napolitano)
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