Laura Mowat, Express, May 1, 2017
Around 250 events are planned across the country for May Day – a traditional day of protesting – with thousands of people and trade unions demonstrating in cities including Lyon, Toulouse and Strasbourg.
Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron will face each other in the second round of the French election on Sunday.
Security is high, with more than 9,000 armed police on duty, particularly in La Place de la Republique in Paris, where union groups have organised events.
The President of an anti-racism group, SOS Racisme, Dominique Sopo, said: “Marine Le Pen shares the same politics as her father.”
Images of protests in Lyon show thousands on the streets with banners reading signs such as ‘Resistance’ and ‘No place for fascists’.
France’s main unions have planned marches in Paris as police fear opposing groups could clash.
The leader of the French Democratic Federation of Labour, Laurent Berger, urged people to vote for Emmanuel Macron today.
He said: “We refuse ambiguity, abstention is a half-voice for Marine Le Pen.
“The presence of the Front National is more serious than in 2002, there is a real risk.”
In 2002, one and a half million people in France protested against Jean-Marie Le Pen.
Ms Le Pen held her final campaign rally in the Paris suburb of Villepinte to honour nationalist icon Joan of Arc today.
Ms Le Pen is now focussing less on ditching the euro in the final days of the election in a bid to lure a broaden range of voters.
She has described her opponent Macron as another form of the outgoing President Francois Hollande.
Her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, laid a wreath at the statue of Joan of Arc in Paris.
Polls show that Macron is leading in the polls against Ms Le Pen, but this could be slipping.