Sarkozy set to unleash new French revolution #10

For those who are voting against him, Sarkozy, whose electoral strategy has been to hunt votes amid the third of French voters who profess a 'sympathy' with the ideas of the extreme right, is 'the abomination of abominations'. 'This is a man who shook the hand of George Bush, who will destroy the French social model, who will institute a police state,' said Geraldine Chene, a Lyon-based Socialist activist. 'We hate him and all he stands for.'

Sarkozy's uncompromising statements on immigration are behind much of the fierce emotion he excites. Lilian Thuram, the French football star, has vociferously attacked Sarkozy's 'racist' rhetoric. He told The Observer yesterday he hoped that 'if Sarkozy is President he has the wisdom to find the words to unite the French'. Key public figures, such as the former tennis player and singer Yannick Noah, have pledged to leave the country in the event of his victory.

'You would think we were on the brink of civil war,' said Jacques Marseille, an author and historian.

For Mohammed Chirani, 29, who is walking across France to call for unity among his fellow citizens, 'the election has crystallised all the faultlines that divide the nation. I've never seen so much fear and hate. I'm not optimistic for the country, whoever wins.'

In Guardian

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